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Jun 1, 2015
This week’s theme
There is a word for it

This week’s words
sinecure
pathography
performative
stridulate
mala fide

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

From time to time I get emails that begin, “Do you know if there is a word for ...?” The cauldron of the English language is overflowing with words. It has a word for the cry of a newborn (vagitus), a word for an uncontrollable urge to dance (tarantism), and a word for the use of ‘we’ in referring to oneself (nosism).

If you don’t find the word, coin it. After all, every word was used by someone for the first time. This week we’ll feature some things for which you don’t need to coin a word because there’s already a word for each of them.

sinecure

PRONUNCIATION:
(SY-ni-kyoor, SIN-i-)

MEANING:
noun: A position in which one is paid for little or no work.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin beneficium sine cura (a church position not involving caring for the souls of the parishioners), from sine (without) + cura (care). Earliest documented use: 1662.

USAGE:
“Some 200,000 civil servants have been enlisted. Half are fairly useless: former guerrillas given sinecures to keep the peace. This cannot last. Some 75% of the budget is spent on wages.”
A New Country Rises from the Ruins; South Sudan; The Economist (London, UK); May 4, 2013.

See more usage examples of sinecure in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
War is merely the continuation of policy by other means. -Carl von Clausewitz, general and military theorist (1 Jun 1780-1831)

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