• synonyms


[sahy-muh-nee, sim-uh-]
  1. the making of profit out of sacred things.
  2. the sin of buying or selling ecclesiastical preferments, benefices, etc.
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Origin of simony

1175–1225; Middle English simonie < Late Latin simōnia; so called from Simon Magus, who tried to purchase apostolic powers; see Simon(def 5), -y3
Related formssi·mon·ist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for simony

Historical Examples of simony

  • Charges of that simony are common; conclusive proof there is none.

    The Life of Cesare Borgia

    Raphael Sabatini

  • The practice of simony has converted a temple into a loathsome stable.

  • I should say myself that he'd dislike it several degrees more than he did the simony.

    Lalage's Lovers

    George A. Birmingham

  • Then there comes a story of "simony," in which the influence of Worcester is again apparent.

  • As to his nepotism, simony, and fraud, there was no doubt at all.

British Dictionary definitions for simony


  1. Christianity the practice, now usually regarded as a sin, of buying or selling spiritual or Church benefits such as pardons, relics, etc, or preferments
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Derived Formssimonist, noun

Word Origin for simony

C13: from Old French simonie, from Late Latin sīmōnia, from the name of Simon Magus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for simony


c.1200, "the sin of buying or selling sacred things," from Old French simonie "selling of church offices" (12c.), from Late Latin simonia, from Simon Magus, the Samaritan magician who was rebuked by Peter when he tried to buy the power of conferring the Holy Spirit (Acts viii:18-20). Related: Simoniac; simoniacal.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper