short shrift

noun
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

Definition of short shrift

1 :barely adequate time for confession before execution
2 a :little or no attention or consideration
  • gave the problem short shrift
b :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

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

Recent Examples of short shrift from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'short shrift.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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

1594


SHORT SHRIFT Defined for English Language Learners

short shrift

noun

Definition of short shrift for English Language Learners

  • : little or no attention or thought


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