Wordy Wednesday – “Short shrift”

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Welcome to another wonderful Wordy Wednesday!

Have you ever heard the phrase “short shrift”? It first appeared in Shakespeare’s Richard III:

RATCLIFF:

Dispatch, my lord; the duke would be at dinner:
Make a short shrift; he longs to see your head.

A short shrift refers to a rushed confession, especially one given to a prisoner about to be executed. In Shakespeare’s time, many criminals were sent straight to the gallows when found guilty, and a short shrift was their last chance to absolve their sins.

Figuratively, it has come to mean giving something (or someone) little consideration; it could also refer to a rude rejection. Here’s an example: “I can’t believe Katherine rejected that guy so quickly! She really gave him the short shrift. What a shrew!”

– Written by Lisa

Sources

“Short Shrift.” Wiktionary. 30 Aug. 2012. Web. 02 Oct. 2012. Web.<http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/short_shrift>.

Martin, Gary. “Short Shrift.” The Phrase Finder. 2012. Web. 02 Oct. 2012. <http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/short-shrift.html>.

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