short shrift


Definition of short shrift

1 : barely adequate time for confession before execution
2a : little or no attention or consideration gave the problem short shrift
b : quick work usually used in the phrase make short shrift of

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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.

Examples of short shrift in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

That likeability came at a cost; TV producers gave short shrift to crucial aspects of real life that might have been healthy for viewers to see. Sara K. Eskridge, Houston Chronicle, "Why Americans love Mayberry," 19 Aug. 2019 This, and other critical reviews like it, give short shrift to Wilentz’s treatment of the fraught relationship between slavery and the Constitution. John Hirschauer, National Review, "What a Princeton Historian’s Critics Get Wrong about the Constitution and Slavery," 27 Aug. 2019 Male lawyers accused of failing to cover the basics won awards and got plum assignments, like the Boston Marathon bombing case, while female prosecutors got short shrift, the women said. Gabrielle Banks, Houston Chronicle, "Houston judge questions capability of federal prosecutor in San Jacinto County death penalty case," 19 June 2019 That gives the mayor a timely platform to hammer the idea regular Chicagoans are getting short shrift while powerful political insiders enrich themselves at the public’s expense. John Byrne,, "Mayor Lori Lightfoot to introduce ethics package aimed at fighting City Hall corruption," 5 June 2019 But prison gerrymandering is still getting short shrift. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "How Prisons Inflate Rural Voters’ Power," 2 Aug. 2019 By design, the study concluded, farmers get short shrift compared with India’s burgeoning urban populations in the tug of war over food prices. Krishna Pokharel, WSJ, "Indian Farmers Despair, Planting Seeds of Doubt About Modi’s Re-Election," 14 Jan. 2019 With so much vying for President Trump’s attention, the war in Afghanistan may be getting short shrift compared to North Korea, Islamic State, health care, tax reform, White House infighting, and more., "Waiting for Trump’s Afghanistan Strategy: BGOV," 1 Aug. 2017 Women composers still get short shrift on many orchestral concerts, but the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz gives them equal time and then some. Georgia Rowe, The Mercury News, "Women composers, performers take center stage at Cabrillo Fest," 22 July 2019

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.

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First Known Use of short shrift

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for short shrift

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for short shrift

The first known use of short shrift was in 1594

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More Definitions for short shrift

short shrift


English Language Learners Definition of short shrift

: little or no attention or thought

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with short shrift

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