shrift

noun
\ ˈshrift How to pronounce shrift (audio) , especially Southern ˈsrift \

Definition of shrift

1 archaic
a : a remission of sins pronounced by a priest in the sacrament of reconciliation
b : the act of shriving : confession
2 obsolete : confessional

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Did You Know?

We wouldn't want to give the history of shrive short shrift, so here's the whole story. It began when the Latin verb scribere (meaning "to write") found its way onto the tongues of certain Germanic peoples who brought it to Britain in the early Middle Ages. Because it was often used for laying down directions or rules in writing, 8th-century Old English speakers used their form of the term, scrīfan, to mean "to prescribe or impose." The Church adopted scrīfan to refer to the act of assigning penance to sinners and, later, to hearing confession and administering absolution. Today shrift, the noun form of shrive, makes up half of short shrift, a phrase meaning "little or no consideration." Originally, short shrift was the barely adequate time for confession before an execution.

Examples of shrift in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Of all the traumas afflicting humans — betrayal, illness, death, war — puberty is the one that gets shortest shrift in representational form. New York Times, "How Nick Kroll Became the Picasso of Puberty," 3 Dec. 2020 Similarly, Salvador’s cherished childhood memories also get short cinematic shrift. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Pedro Almodóvar’s Stifled “Pain and Glory”," 10 Oct. 2019 More Stories HBCUs were not the only education issue that received short-shrift during last night’s debate. Adam Harris, The Atlantic, "The Missing Education Questions in the Democratic Debate," 13 Sep. 2019 Shorter shrift is given to the role of vernacular architecture and how such traditional elements as the Ottoman divanhana (house-wrapping porch) enriched modernist structures. Julie V. Iovine, WSJ, "‘Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980’ Review: An Imaginative Moment," 24 Aug. 2018 Related While China worried that its interests might get short-shrift in the Trump-Kim summit, the meeting unexpectedly proved favorable to Beijing. Jeremy Page, WSJ, "The Unexpected Winner From the Trump-Kim Summit: China," 13 June 2018 Dramatic revelations are continually given short-shrift; when Millsap's electoral chances are severely threatened by a false allegation regarding her late husband, the writer rushes over the information as if the details were unimportant. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Kings': Theater Review," 21 Feb. 2018 Health care had a prominent role to play in the deal—but some programs were given greater shrift than others. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Brainstorm Health: Genome on a Blockchain, Budget Deal, U.S. Life Expectancy Drop," 9 Feb. 2018 The accident actually gets rather short emotional shrift for such a traumatic event. Matthew J. Palm, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Charismatic cast powers Estefans' story in lightweight 'On Your Feet'," 18 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word '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 shrift

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for shrift

Middle English, from Old English scrift, from scrīfan to shrive — more at shrive

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Time Traveler for shrift

Time Traveler

The first known use of shrift was before the 12th century

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Statistics for shrift

Last Updated

14 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shrift.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shrift. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on shrift

Britannica English: Translation of shrift for Arabic Speakers

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