Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Word of the Day: Shrift

Word of the Day

shrift (n)

Confession (implying penance and absolution)

"Benvolio: See, where he comes. So please you step aside,
I'll know his grievance, or be much denied.

Montague: I would thou wert so happy by thy stay
To hear true shrift. Come, madam, let's away"
--Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene 1


"Ratcliffe: Make a short shrift; he longs to see your head."
--Richard III,, Act III, Scene 4

I think this word is only used today in the phrase "short shrift," which originated with Shakespeare (at least his is the first recorded use of it) and has come to mean brushing off someone else's feelings in an offhand, callous manner.

I have a CD, called Lost in a Moment, by a musical duo who call themselves Shrift. Their album is hard to describe; it's sort of Brazilian-flavored ambient/chill-out music with some beautiful, but subtle, vocals and electronica. You can find some information about Shrift here. Anyway, the CD made me think of the word.

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