short shrift


: barely adequate time for confession before execution
: little or no attention or consideration
gave the problem short shrift
: quick work
usually used in the phrase make short shrift of

Did you know?

We’ve got a confession to make, but we’ll keep it brief: while it’s technically possible to make “long shrift” of something, you’re unlikely to find long shrift in our (virtual or actual) pages anytime soon. Short shrift, on the other hand, has been keeping it real—real terse, that is—for centuries. 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.” Although now archaic, the noun shrift was understood in Shakespeare’s time to refer to the confession or absolution of sins, so “make a short shrift” meant, quite literally, “keep your confession short.” However, 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.

Examples of short shrift in a Sentence

He gives short shrift to the author's later works.
Recent Examples on the Web Regardless, many families and experts feel that children with these disorders get short shrift from a budgeting and policy perspective. Jennifer Brookland, Detroit Free Press, 24 June 2024 This Sunday is Father's Day – a day to honor the 72 million fathers across the U.S. Dads often get short shrift, compared to all the attention given Mother's Day. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 14 June 2024 That means some queens are going to get short shrift in favor of the girls who are more adept at catching the camera’s eye. Jason P. Frank, Vulture, 19 Jan. 2024 There was also an impression that the biggest Soviet Republic—Russia—was getting short shrift. Jade McGlynn, Foreign Affairs, 17 Aug. 2023 See all Example Sentences for short shrift 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'short shrift.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of short shrift was in 1594


Dictionary Entries Near short shrift

Cite this Entry

“Short shrift.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

short shrift

: little or no attention or consideration
gave the problem short shrift
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!