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I'm writing a message which will go out to a global community, so I want to keep the vocabulary relatively straightforward. I'm describing a job which previously has been a little vaguely-defined, but which going forward is expected to be significantly more meaningful, both in responsibilities and impact.

In my draft, I wrote that the position is a serious one, "not a sinecure". However, this only really helpful if someone already knows this (relatively obscure, I think) word. I can, of course, explain more, but I was hoping for some thing succinct. The thesaurus is not helping here; is there another word or short phrase which concisely expresses the same or similar meaning?

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    Sinecure is essentially "title-only" or "meaningless but you get paid".
    – SrJoven
    Oct 31, 2014 at 16:47
  • Btw, "sinecure" is essentially a metaphor, and not that obscure. You seem to need a direct term.
    – Kris
    Oct 31, 2014 at 17:39
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    "This position is now better defined, and significantly more meaningful, both in responsibilities and impact." Sounds good to me.
    – SrJoven
    Oct 31, 2014 at 17:45
  • Maybe a positive statement, such as evolving.
    – bib
    Oct 31, 2014 at 21:19
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    you will say that the job is ideal for challenge seekers. your ad is to entice good people, not dissuade lazy people.
    – user31341
    Nov 1, 2014 at 3:27

5 Answers 5

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I suggest nominal: (from TFD)

  • existing in name only.

The position is a serious one, not just nominal.

  • she is the nominal head of our college, the real work is done by her deputy. (from Cambridge Dict,)
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You may be looking for something like

gravy train
n. Slang
An occupation or other source of income that requires little effort while yielding considerable profit.

or, stretching a bit further afield,

make-work job
[T]he phrase "make-work" is . . . used for work that is both of negative financial benefit and also not considered to be of any other particular benefit to the national interest.

[Links point to and quoted excerpts taken from thefreedictionary.com]

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    Both of these suffer from the fact that are unlikely to be more understandable to a ‘global community’ than sinecure.
    – Gala
    Nov 1, 2014 at 16:03
  • Well, either of them is better than nominal, which is a poor force-fit.
    – Robusto
    Nov 1, 2014 at 18:17
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    Yes, probably, but I think cushy or (not) demanding could get the idea across more effectively and sinecure is still the best noun until now. At least you can find it in an English-something dictionary…
    – Gala
    Nov 1, 2014 at 20:30
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Figurehead (Collins English Dictionary)

  1. a person nominally having a prominent position, but no real authority

What you are trying to say is that this was not a figurehead position, but has responsibilities and authority...(which I imagine you will go on to describe).

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The term cushy is often applied to sinecures

(Of a job, task, or situation) undemanding, easy, or secure: cushy jobs that pay you to ski [Oxford Dictionaries Online]

It is usually followed by job, post, position or similar reference to an assignment.

You are clearly trying to indicate that the job is not like that of Co-ordinator of Inter-relations, the ill-defined, ineffective position held by Mr. Nat, a character created by Gene Klavan, a well-known radio personality in the 1960s.

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How about demanding? This word can have negative connotations, however, so you may want to qualify its use with a phrase like '...demanding and rewarding post...'.

Similarly: challenging or engaging. Perhaps a phrase like 'This will be a significant and engaging role...'.

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