Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

short shrift

noun

Simple Definition of short shrift

  • : little or no attention or thought

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of short shrift

  1. 1 :  barely adequate time for confession before execution

  2. 2a :  little or no attention or consideration <gave the problem short shrift>b :  quick work —usually used in the phrase make short shrift of

Examples of short shrift in a sentence

  1. He gives short shrift to the author's later works.



Did You Know?

The word shrift is an archaic noun referring to the confession or absolution of sins. These days, "shrift" is rarely encountered on its own, but it does keep frequent company with "short" in the phrase "short shrift." The earliest known use of the phrase comes from William Shakespeare's play Richard III, in which Lord Hastings, who has been condemned by King Richard to be beheaded, is told by Sir Richard Ratcliffe to "Make a short shrift" as the king "longs to see your head." Shakespeare uses this phrase quite literally ("keep your confession short"), but since at least the 19th century the phrase has been used figuratively to refer to a small or inadequate amount of time or attention given to something.

1594

First Known Use of short shrift

1594


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up short shrift? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the Celtic May Day festival

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

angry prompt oily maudlin
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ