from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Summary, careless treatment; scant attention: These annoying memos will get short shrift from the boss.
  • n. Quick work.
  • n. A short respite, as from death.
  • n. The brief time before execution granted a condemned prisoner for confession and absolution.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A quick rejection, especially one which is impolite and undertaken without proper consideration.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a brief and unsympathetic rejection


Originally, a rushed sacrament of confession (shrift) given to a prisoner who was to be executed very soon. (Wiktionary)


  • Cromwell would have had a short shrift if he had fallen into the hands of mass-goers.

    The Life of Froude

  • “I hope we might make short shrift of running down Master Blueskin, for I declare I should make fine work of a rib or two of pork.”


  • It’s real nice the two of you talk every once in awhile, but as far as I’m concerned you’re gettin’ short shrift from a Jewboy who ain’t got the brains to know what he’s got.”

    The Big Nowhere

  • In short, while Professor Lewis is entirely right in pointing out the scholarly achievements and, in many ways, the intellectual probity and generosity of what we call orientalism, he may have given short shrift to the anxiety, the fears, the expectations of the contemporary Muslim world which are also genuine and respectable feelings, even if expressed at times in sadly and unnecessarily angry terms.

    Orientalism: An Exchange

  • The courses of the large inland rivers were protected by gun-boats, and on account of the rapids and other impediments, such as snags, with which they were filled, the fords or passes for boats were few and far between, and thus easily guarded; besides which, it was always a difficult matter to avoid the pickets belonging to either party, who were very apt to suspect a man they found creeping about without any ostensible object, and anyone suspected of being a spy in those days had a short shrift and a long rope applied before he knew where he was.

    Sketches From My Life

  • As we stuff our faces we talk ramblingly about the politics of scientific funding especially ecology versus molecular biology, with ecology getting short shrift and about the sociopolitical challenge of conserving biological diversity.

    The Song of The Dodo

  • A working student may be more likely to give homework short shrift and find school an irritant if he is trying to make money and saveup for a car.

    A Mind at a Time


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