noun: Confession to a priest. Also, penance and absolution that follow confession.

From Old English scrift (confession, penance), from scrifan (to shrive: to impose penance). Ultimately from the Indo-European root skribh- (to cut, separate, or sift) that has resulted in other terms, such as manuscript, scribe, subscribe, scripture, scribble, and describe. Earliest documented use: 897.

The term nowadays is mostly seen in the form "to get short shrift" meaning to receive little consideration or a curt treatment. Originally, short shrift was what condemned criminals received: brief time granted to them for confession and absolution before execution.


SHRIF - charged with upholding the law in very small, laconic towns. USAGE: "The shrif cot thm tu catl rsslrs, dinnee?"