short shrift

short shrift
n. 1) Summary, careless treatment; scant attention: »

These annoying memos will get short shrift from the boss.

2) Quick work. 3) a) A short respite, as from death. b) The brief time before execution granted a condemned prisoner for confession and absolution.
Word History: To be given short shrift is not the blessing it once was. The source of our verb shrive (shrove, shriven) and noun shrift, which have technical meanings from ecclesiastical Latin, is Classical Latin scrībere, "to write." Shrive comes from the Old English verb scrīfan, "to decree, decree after judgment, impose a penance upon (a penitent), hear the confession of." The past participle of scrīfan is scrifen, our shriven. The noun shrift, "penance; absolution," comes from Old English scrift with the same meaning, which comes from scrīptus, the perfect passive participle of scrībere, and means "what is written," or, to use the Latin word, "what is prescribed." Theologians and confessors viewed the sacrament of penance as a prescription that cured a moral illness. In early medieval times penances were long and arduous—lengthy pilgrimages and even lifelong exile were not uncommon—and had to be performed before absolution, not after as today. However, less demanding penances could be given in extreme situations; short shrift was a brief penance given to a person condemned to death so that absolution could be granted before execution.

Word Histories. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • short shrift — n. 1. Obs. a brief time granted a condemned person for religious confession and absolution before his execution 2. very little care or attention, as from lack of patience or sympathy make short shrift of to make short work of; dispose of quickly… …   English World dictionary

  • short shrift — If somebody gives you short shrift, they treat you rudely and brusquely, showing no interest or sympathy …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • short shrift — short′ shrift′ n. 1) a brief time for confession or absolution given to a condemned prisoner before his or her execution 2) little attention or consideration in dealing with a person or matter • Etymology: 1585–95 …   From formal English to slang

  • short shrift — ► NOUN ▪ rapid and unsympathetic dismissal; curt treatment. ORIGIN originally in sense «little time allowed for making confession between being condemned and executed or punished» …   English terms dictionary

  • short shrift — n. quick work 1) to make short shrift of ( to finish with quickly ) 2) to give smb. short shrift ( to deal with smb. summarily ) 3) to get short shrift from smb. ( to be treated summarily by smb. ) * * * [ˌʃɔːt ʃrɪft] to get short shrift from smb …   Combinatory dictionary

  • short shrift — noun a brief and unsympathetic rejection they made short shrift of my request • Syn: ↑summary treatment • Hypernyms: ↑rejection * * * n. rapid and unsympathetic dismissal; curt treatment the judge gave short shrift to an argument based on the… …   Useful english dictionary

  • short shrift —    If somebody gives you short shrift, they treat you rudely and brusquely, showing no interest or sympathy.   (Dorking School Dictionary)    ***    If someone or something gets short shrift, they are given little attention or sympathy.     When… …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • short shrift — Meaning To get an unfairly small portion. A shrift was a confession given to a priest who then gave absolution. In the 17th century criminals were sent to the scaffold immediately after sentencing. They only had time for a short shrift before… …   Meaning and origin of phrases

  • short shrift — noun Date: 1594 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 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • short shrift — a firm and immediate refusal to do something, give something, or deal with something in a sympathetic way I ll give them short shrift if they ask me for money! Any mention of overworked teachers gets short shrift from him …   English dictionary

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