simony

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Old French simonie, from Late Latin simonia, named from Simon Magus, with reference to Acts 8:18-20:

And when Simon saw that through laying on of hands, the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying 'Give me also this power that on whomsoever I lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost’. But Peter said unto him ‘Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. (KJV)

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈsaɪ.mə.ni/, /ˈsɪ.mə.ni/

Noun[edit]

simony (plural simonies)

  1. The act of buying and selling ecclesiastical offices and pardons.
    • 1989, Anthony Burgess, ‘Hun’, The Devil’s Mode:
      ‘There are those two,’ he then said, ‘who were recently arraigned on a charge of high simony. Fancying a monstrance and stealing it and proposing to sell it. They pleaded the usual pagan ignorance.’
    • 2007, Edwin Mullins, The Popes of Avignon, Blue Bridge 2008, p. 37:
      He openly practiced simony; in other words, he sold benefices.

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