Old English scrift 'penance imposed after confession', from shrive.
To give someone short shrift is to treat them in a curt and dismissive way. The phrase originally referred to the short time that a condemned criminal was allowed to make their confession to a priest and be shriven, prescribed a penance, and absolved of their sins, before being executed. Its first use in the literal sense comes in Shakespeare's Richard III: ‘Make a short shrift, he longs to see your head.’ The Shrove in Shrove Tuesday is a form of shriven. As the day before the start of Lent, it is marked by feasting and celebration before the Lent fast begins. In Britain people eat pancakes on the day, giving the alternative name Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday. Other countries celebrate it as the carnival of Mardi Gras, French for ‘Fat Tuesday’. See also carnival
Words that rhyme with shriftadrift, drift, gift, grift, lift, rift, shift, sift, squiffed, swift, thrift, uplift
- British & World English dictionary
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