Etymology

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deriving from the Greek for 'true' (eteos/etymos) and 'word' (logos)

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Those unfamiliar with the word shrift will be excused for thinking they will find the definition in Urban Dictionary (and they will, but not by recommendation of Editors Victoria).

Originally from Latin scribere, the shrift is the penance imposed by a priest after confession. Since in medieval times absolution could be given only after the shrift was completed, under extreme circumstances (such as imminent death), people were allowed a token shrift in the little time available. The expression 'short shrift' came to be associated particularly with criminals before execution, who had very little time for penance.

Shakespeare was the first to write the expression down: "Make a short Shrift, he longs to see your Head," and it is often considered that the expression was coined by him (to mean 'to do something quickly/give something little consideration').

The verb form is shrive (shrove, shriven).