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Oct 22, 2010
This week's theme
Eponyms

This week's words
harlequin
stentorian
pharisaical
luddite
simony

Peter's conflict with Simon Magus, painting by Avanzino Nucci
Peter's conflict with Simon Magus (in black robes)
Art: Avanzino Nucci (c. 1552-1629)

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

simony

PRONUNCIATION:
(SY-muh-nee, SIM-)

MEANING:
noun: Profiting from holy things, especially buying and selling of holy positions and pardons.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Simon Magus, Samaritan sorcerer in the Bible, who wanted to buy spiritual powers -- the ability to transfer the "Holy Spirit" by putting hands on someone -- from Peter.

USAGE:
"A related theme -- the preacher or moraliser unmasked -- has been richly illustrated in recent years by examples from real life: a string of corrupt American televangelists, self-appointed 'men of God', who revelled in greed, lust, and simony, the very things they were thought to be railing against."
Gilchrist; The Economist (London, UK); Nov 19, 1994.

See more usage examples of simony in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Intolerance of ambiguity is the mark of an authoritarian personality. -Theodor Adorno, philosopher and composer (1903-1969)

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