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

shrive

play
verb \ˈshrīv, especially Southern ˈsrīv\

Definition of shrive

shrived or shrove play \ˈshrōv, ˈsrōv\ shriven play \ˈshri-vən, ˈsri-\ or shrivedshriving

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to administer the sacrament of reconciliation to

  3. 2 :  to free from guilt

  4. intransitive verb
  5. archaic :  to confess one's sins especially to a priest



Did You Know?

We wouldn't want to give the history of shrive short shrift, so here's the whole story. It began when the Latin verb scribere (meaning "to write") found its way onto the tongues of certain Germanic peoples who brought it to Britain in the early Middle Ages. Because it was often used for laying down directions or rules in writing, 8th-century Old English speakers used their form of the term, scrīfan, to mean "to prescribe or impose." The Church adopted scrīfan to refer to the act of assigning penance to sinners and, later, to hearing confession and administering absolution. Today shrift, the noun form of shrive, makes up half of "short shrift," a phrase meaning "little or no consideration." Originally, "short shrift" was the barely adequate time for confession before an execution.

Origin of shrive

Middle English, from Old English scrīfan to shrive, prescribe (akin to Old High German scrīban to write), from Latin scribere to write — more at scribe


First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with shrive


Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to work hard

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?

maudlin oily angry prompt
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