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Short shrift

Short shrift means unsympathetic consideration, a curt dismissal. Shrift is formed from the word shrive, an antiquated word which means to confess one’s sins to a priest for absolution. Presumably, giving a condemned prisoner short shrift would speed up his road to execution, this use is found in the English language from the 1590s. The oldest use of short shrift is found in Shakespeare’s play Richard III, when Ratcliff says: “Dispatch, my lord; the duke would be at dinner: Make a short shrift; he longs to see your head.” Even though the verb shrive is no longer in general use, the term survives to describe a snubbing, in the idiom short shrift. Shrove, the past tense of shrive, also remains in the term Shrove Tuesday, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday which begins the Christian observance of Lent.


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Examples

JMPD gives Zuma protest short shrift (The Citizen)

The Huffington Post reported this morning the Labour leader has begun to finalise the new line-up, but he has given short shrift to correspondents sniffing out a scoop. (The Huffington Post)

But while Charlotte defending Stephanie against the claims she’s cheated, the Geordie Shore queen had short shrift for Sam’s actions on social media. (The Mirror)

Wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods, two dozen protesters stood outside the White House on Monday to give short shrift to Barack Obama’s claim that the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay is beyond his control. (The Guardian)

This column sometimes gives short shrift to the region’s many fine crime writers, so let’s kick off the new year with three of them. (The Seattle Times)

Unfortunately, some media reports gave short shrift to the 400-page report, preferring to concentrate on the parts that would require implementation of some the governor’s controversial “Turnaround” agenda, which has pleased Republicans as pro-business and angered Democrats as anti-union. (The Rockford Register-Star)

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