Word of the Day Archive
Wednesday February 6, 2002
sinecure \SY-nih-kyur; SIN-ih-\ , noun:
An office or position that requires or involves little or no responsibility, work, or active service.
I was fortunate to receive the. . . offer, which in practical terms was a sinecure.
-- David Freeman, One of Us
Julian Poe, a wealthy old Estonian, offers what looks like a sinecure: Bennett will live in comfort in Monte Carlo and pretend to be Poe, thus enabling Poe to fulfill his residency requirement in Monte Carlo while continuing to live in Provence without paying French taxes.
-- "Eat, Drink and Be Wary", New York Times, June 9, 1996
When they married, Pu Yi was, officially, employed as a gardener at the Peking Botanical Gardens. In fact this sinecure. . . only lasted three years, during which time he did very little actual gardening.
-- "Obituary: Li Shuxian", Independent, June 11, 1997
Sinecure is from Medieval Latin sine cura, "without care (of souls)," from Latin sine, "without" + cura, "care." Originally the term signified an ecclesiastical benefice without the care of souls.