si·​ne·​cure | \ ˈsī-ni-ˌkyu̇r How to pronounce sinecure (audio) , ˈsi- \

Definition of sinecure

1 : an office or position that requires little or no work and that usually provides an income
2 archaic : an ecclesiastical benefice without cure of souls

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Did You Know?

Sinecure comes from the Medieval Latin phrase sine cura, which literally means "without cure." No, the first sinecures were not cushy jobs for those suffering with incurable maladies. The word sinecure first referred to "an ecclesiastical benefice without cure of souls"—that is, a church position in which the job-holder did not have to tend to the spiritual care and instruction of church members. Such sinecures were virtually done away with by the end of the 19th century, but by then the word had acquired a broader sense referring to any paid position with few or no responsibilities.

Examples of sinecure in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With long-term, tenure-track hiring in steep decline across academic fields, these conditions can no longer be justified as an unpleasant apprenticeship leading to a cushy tenured sinecure in the ivory tower. Walter Johnson, The New York Review of Books, "How Harvard Aims to Muzzle Unions," 27 Jan. 2020 His are not exactly the steadiest of hands, but foreign businesses have sought him out for lucrative sinecures. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 24 Oct. 2019 Aim for a plurality, but do so with what amounts to a running mate who is then rewarded with a sinecure in the new administration. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Raccoon Congress," 13 June 2018 Ross was later demoted to a sinecure at ABC’s beleaguered Lincoln Square Productions. Brian Flood, Fox News, "Pressure grows for 'The View' star Joy Behar to apologize over anti-Christian comments, but ABC is silent," 12 Mar. 2018 More broadly, with incumbents like Ms. James re-elected across the board on Tuesday, New York may be seeing a new political normal where the city’s term-limits law has given rise to two-term sinecures. William Neuman And J. David Goodman, New York Times, "Glow of De Blasio’s Primary Victory Is Dimmed by a Cuomo Speech," 13 Sep. 2017 The top brass, in particular, benefit from sinecures in and payouts from this empire. The Economist, "Going along with a pogromAung San Suu Kyi and her foreign admirers must help the Rohingyas," 9 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sinecure.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sinecure

1662, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for sinecure

Medieval Latin sine cura without cure (of souls)

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The first known use of sinecure was in 1662

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Cite this Entry

“Sinecure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

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How to pronounce sinecure (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sinecure

formal : a job or position in which someone is paid to do little or no work

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