From Middle English shrift (“confession to a priest; act or instance of this; sacrament of penance; penance assigned by a priest; penitence, repentance; punishment for sin”) [and other forms], from Late Old English scryft, Old English sċrift (“penance, shrift; something prescribed as punishment, penalty; one who passes sentence, a judge”), from sċrīfan (“of a priest: to prescribe absolution or penance; to pass judgment, ordain, prescribe; to appoint, decree”) (whence shrive), from Proto-Germanic *skrībaną (“to write”), from Latin scrībō (“to write”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kreybʰ- (“to scratch, tear”).
- (Received Pronunciation, General American) IPA(key): /ʃɹɪft/
Audio (Southern England) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɪft
- The act of going to or hearing a religious confession.
- 1820, John Keats, “Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil. A Story from Boccaccio.”, in Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems, London: […] [Thomas Davison] for Taylor and Hessey, […], OCLC 927360557, stanza LIX, page 78:
- For seldom did she go to chapel-shrift, / And seldom felt she any hunger-pain; [...]
- Confession to a priest.
- (obsolete) Forgiveness given by a priest after confession; remission.
- c. 1591–1595 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Romeo and Ivliet”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, (please specify the act number in uppercase Roman numerals, and the scene number in lowercase Roman numerals):
- [Friar:] Be plain, good son, and homely in thy drift. / Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift.
- ^ “shrift, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ Arika Okrent (2019-07-05), “12 Old Words That Survived by Getting Fossilized in Idioms”, in Mental Floss, Pocket, retrieved 2021-10-08
- ^ Compare “shrift, n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1914; “shrift, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022; “shrive, v.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1914; “shrive, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.