noun Archaic.
the imposition of penance by a priest on a penitent after confession.
absolution or remission of sins granted after confession and penance.
confession to a priest.

before 900; Middle English; Old English scrift penance; cognate with German, Dutch schrift writing; see shrive, -th1

shift, shrift. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
shrift (ʃrɪft)
archaic See also short shrift the act or an instance of shriving or being shriven
[Old English scrift, from Latin scriptumscript]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. scrift "confession to priest, followed by penance and absolution," verbal noun from scrifan "to impose penance" (see shrive). Short shrift was originally the brief time for a condemned criminal to confess before execution (1594); fig. extension to "little or no consideration"
is first attested 1814.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see short shrift.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
The author gives short shrift to the heartbreak of social upheaval on such a
  huge scale.
She has been given short shrift by the intellectual establishment.
Most online music sites give the bands short shrift when slicing up the revenue
Don't give short shrift to the budget and its justification.
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