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Oct 4, 2013
This week's theme
Fossil words

This week's words
petard
druthers
dudgeon
caboodle
shrift

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Insults
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

shrift

PRONUNCIATION:
(shrift)

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

ETYMOLOGY:
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.

NOTES:
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.

USAGE:
"Their schools focus on religious learning: even basic subjects such as maths and English get short shrift."
Talmud and Cheesecake; The Economist (London, UK); Jul 28, 2012.

"Downey's midcareer comeback is also given fair shrift in this absorbing account of one man's amazing triumph over his voracious demons."
Chris Keech; Robert Downey Jr.: The Fall and Rise of the Comeback Kid; The Booklist (Chicago); Dec 15, 2010.

See more usage examples of shrift in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use. -Emily Post, author and columnist (1872-1960)

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