Definition of simony in US English:



  • The buying or selling of ecclesiastical privileges, for example pardons or benefices.

    • ‘Here, it was a question of uniformity of liturgical observance, of conformity to what Turgot called ‘the universal custom of holy church’ rather than of Gregorian reform in the sense of attacks on simony and clerical marriage.’
    • ‘Selling something that belonged to God constituted the sin of simony.’
    • ‘The Council passed reforming decrees in keeping with the Cluniac reform movement, including ones concerning simony and clerical marriage.’
    • ‘He also outlawed simony, the practice of buying and selling church posts.’
    • ‘To manipulate religious conviction into a political commodity is a contemporary form of simony.’


Middle English: from Old French simonie, from late Latin simonia, from Simon Magus (Acts 8:18).