Definition: a position or office that requires little or no work but provides a salary
This is sometimes unethical – a no-show job, for example – but is sometimes a way to legally bestow a necessary title or position that someone needs to perform a function.
For example, someone might be “employed” by a company for $1/year in order to be legally considered an employee to perform some role.
In other cases, this is neither corrupt nor perfunctory, but is simply an example of lazy hiring and management.
Why I Looked It Up
In an article called Saving the Liberal Arts, David Perell wrote:
Without the incentives to focus on teaching, the market for professors self selects for sinecure. Professors can slack because they are among the only performers who have a guaranteed captive audience.