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From Middle English shriven, schrifen, from Old English scrīfan, from late Proto-Germanic *skrībaną, a late borrowing from Latin scrībō ‎(write). Compare West Frisian skriuwe ‎(to write), Low German schrieven ‎(to write), Dutch schrijven ‎(to write), German schreiben ‎(to write), Danish skrive ‎(to write), Swedish skriva ‎(to write), Icelandic skrifa ‎(to write). More at scribe.



shrive ‎(third-person singular simple present shrives, present participle shriving, simple past shrived or shrove, past participle shrived or shriven)

  1. (transitive and intransitive) To hear or receive a confession (of sins etc.)
    • c 1600, William Shakespeare, s:The Merchant of Venice, Act 1, Scene III
      If he have the condition of a saint and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me.
    • Shakespeare
      Doubtless he shrives this woman, [] / Else ne'er could he so long protract his speech.
    • Longfellow
      Till my guilty soul be shriven.
  2. (transitive) To prescribe penance or absolution.
  3. (intransitive or reflexive) To confess, and receive absolution.
    "Twas a good thought, boy, to come here and shrive", - The Croppy Boy, trad Irish song.

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