I'm struggling to recall this word. If I recall correctly, it's of French origin. My search has so far been fruitless.

The nearest equivalent I came up with was the idiom pulling strings but that is obviously English and not a single word.

pull strings / wires
(a) to use one's influence or authority, usually in secret, in order to bring about a desired result.
(b) to gain or attempt to gain one's objectives by means of influential friends, associates, etc.:

He had his uncle pull strings to get him a promotion.

marked as duplicate by 1006a, Mari-Lou A single-word-requests Nov 19 at 17:43

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    For what it's worth (and clearly not answering your question), the expression 'jobs for the boys' also describes this. – Jeremy Nov 19 at 13:32
up vote 26 down vote accepted

sinecure:

sinecure (sīˈnĭ-kyo͝orˌ, sĭnˈĭ-)

n. A position or office that requires little or no work but provides a salary.

n. Archaic An ecclesiastical benefice not attached to the spiritual duties of a parish.

More at Wordnik from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

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    To address the OP's question, I believe it's actually derived from Latin, not French. – IMil Nov 19 at 2:59
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    @IMil French has the same word (sinécure), both derived from the Latin phrase beneficium sine cura (“benefice without care”), but as far as I can tell dictionaries indicate that both English and French got it independently from ecclesiastical Latin, rather than French getting it from Latin and English getting it from French. – KRyan Nov 19 at 13:22

I believe the word you're looking for is

Nepotism

NOUN

the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.

"his years in office were marked by corruption and nepotism"

ORIGIN mid 17th century: from French népotisme, from Italian nepotismo, from nipote ‘nephew’ (with reference to privileges bestowed on the ‘nephews’ of popes, who were in many cases their illegitimate sons).

source: oxford dictionary

  • 1
    OP is looking for sinecure. Nepotism is a mechanism by which one might obtain a sinecure. – Jim Nov 19 at 17:01
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    But the OP also mentioned "pulling strings", which is the mechanism. – Barmar Nov 19 at 17:40
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    The op also mentioned a "relationship" such as crony, and the word she was looking for has French origin. Nepotism fits both of these qualifications, while sinecure does not. – Holly Plyler Nov 19 at 20:14

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