short shrift

noun
|Updated on: 6 Jul 2018

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

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

SHORT SHRIFT Defined for English Language Learners

short shrift

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).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a simultaneous discharge of guns

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a-pile-of-three-dimensional-shapes-in-green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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