short shrift

Posted: May 25, 2008 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

the early hours are the best time  to get ideas. today I am much occupied with ‘short shrift’. Where does the phrase come from. What is ‘shrift’? Is it the past tense of ‘shrive’. If so, is ‘shift’ the past participle of ‘shive’ – as in ‘tut and shive’ which is I believe a pub name?

|I reach for the dictionary which happens to be by my bed.

Shrift: (orig) penance, absolution, confession.

short shrift: short time for confession before execution. summary treatment of a person or matter.

Shift: …(OE sciften – to divide, allot)

Shive: a slice (of bread), a thin cork or bung

So, yes, shrift has a similar relation to shrive as shift has to shive, or perhaps a mirror image.

I have just done a shift at Projectile, pulling pints and heating pasties (wholemeal, veggie). I’m sure I had recourse to a shive – whether on the barrel, or the plate. But I haven short shrift to chz-swann

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