Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
November 12th, 2015
Episode 378 of 797 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for November 12, 2015 is: sinecure \SYE-nih-kyoor\ noun : an office or position that requires little or no work and that usually provides an income Examples: The king was in the habit of rewarding his loyal supporters with sinecures. "The status of former presidential nominee turned influential insider is more than just a nice sinecure for a politician in the twilight of his career. It's the foundation for another presidential run." Jamelle Bouie, The Chicago Tribune, 14 Jan. 2015 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.