Definition of short shrift
1 : barely adequate time for confession before execution
2a : little or no attention or consideration gave the problem short shriftb : quick work —usually used in the phrase make short shrift of
short shrift was our Word of the Day on 06/18/2009. Hear the podcast!
Examples of short shrift in a sentence
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.
First Known Use of short shrift
SHORT SHRIFT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of short shrift for English Language Learners
: little or no attention or thought
Learn More about short shrift
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).