simony

In some Christian churches, buying or selling something spiritual is known as simony. If a priest became a bishop by paying a bribe, that would be an act of simony.

This crime mainly shows up in the histories of the Catholic Church and the Church of England. It wasn't uncommon during the 9th and 10th centuries for people to attempt to buy religious positions in the church to gain status or influence. Simony comes from the New Testament story of Simon Magus, who offered money to two apostles in exchange for the ability to perform miracles.

Definitions of simony
  1. noun
    traffic in ecclesiastical offices or preferments
    synonyms: barratry
    see moresee less
    type of:
    traffic
    buying and selling; especially illicit trade
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week