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a Church benefice to which no spiritual or pastoral charge is attached



in the Middle Ages, an ecclesiastical office that brought in income without being connected with the fulfillment of any obligations or without even requiring residence at the place of appointment. The granting of sinecures was widely practiced by the papacy. The word “sinecure” became a pejorative term used to designate a well-paying office not requiring any special work.

References in classic literature ?
All people who hold sinecure offices are held in more or less respect, and as the belfry -- man of Vondervotteimittiss has the most perfect of sinecures, he is the most perfectly respected of any man in the world.
He received a salary on the staff of the National Guard, where he held a sinecure which was paid for by the city of Paris; he was government commissioner to a secret society; and filled a position of superintendence in the royal household.
A pen-stroke might demolish his civilian epaulets, his place at court, his sinecure, his two offices and their advantages; in all, six salaries retained under fire of the law against pluralists.
During the months when navigation was closed Captain Jim's office was a sinecure.
He was rewarded by the gift of sinecure offices from the government and did some further writing, including, probably, the patriotic lyric, 'Rule, Britannia,' and also pseudo-classical tragedies; but his only other poem of much importance is 'The Castle of Indolence' (a subject appropriate to his own good-natured, easy-going disposition), which appeared just before his death, in 1748.
In short, I went on thus for a long time (I may say it without boasting), faithfully minding my business, till it became more and more evident that my townsmen would not after all admit me into the list of town officers, nor make my place a sinecure with a moderate allowance.
The attendant of this place was temporarily absent, probably because the only guests were at dinner and his office was a sinecure.
Miss Briggs was not formally dismissed, but her place as companion was a sinecure and a derision; and her company was the fat spaniel in the drawing-room, or occasionally the discontented Firkin in the housekeeper's closet.
You must prepare yourself for a querulous invalid, and for no sinecure if you get the billet.
Well, as I told you before, and as you have since probably discovered for yourself, you won't find it exactly a sinecure.
Some laughed; some said, by way of complete excuse, that the post was virtually a sinecure, and any fool who could spell his name was good enough for it; some, and these the more solemn political oracles, said that Decimus did wisely to strengthen himself, and that the sole constitutional purpose of all places within the gift of Decimus, was, that Decimus should strengthen himself.
It is no coincidence that, with a general election looming and well paid sinecures in jeopardy, UKIP posing a real threat in marginal seats and increasing public concerns about the lack of boarder controls and the number of immigrants arriving from Eastern Europe, MPs have gone into panic mode and have now started, however reluctantly, to reect the public anxiety about mass immigration.