Middle English Dictionary Entry

shrift n.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

1.
(a) Confession to a priest, auricular confession; also person.; ~ in (o, of, with) mouth; ~ wind, oral confession; soth (sothfast, verrei) ~; haven ~ on herte, to intend to confess; maken ~ o (of) mouth; (b) the sacrament of penance; ~ and housel (housel-bred), housel and ~; ~ silver, payment to a confessor for administering the sacrament of penance; under ~, under the safeguard of the sacrament of penance; also, under the seal of confession; don under ~, to place (oneself) under the safeguard of confession; maken ~, carry out the sacrament of penance; (c) comen (gangen, gon, rennen, sechen, yeden) to ~, to go to confession; (d) at (i, in, o) ~, at confession, in confession; (e) ~ fader, a confessor; also fig.; (f) a confessor; (g) disclosure (of a subject), revelation.
2.
(a) An instance or act of confession to a priest; to his ~, at his confession; (b) don (rehersen, sheuen, tellen) ~, to make (one's) confession; heren ~, hear a confession; also fig.; iheren ~, hear a confession; -- used fig.; maken ~, make (one's) confession; also, make (one's) confession (to God); shriftes heringe, the hearing of confessions.
3.
(a) Penance assigned by a confessor; shriftes bok, a book concerning penance; breken ~, to fail to carry out (one's) penance; don (leden, nimen) ~, carry out one's assigned penance; don ~ o (of), perform (one's) penance for (sins); holden ~ of, perform penance for (sins); iholden ~, persevere in doing (one's) penance; don (leien) ~ on, assign a penance to (sb.); nimen (undernimen, understonden) ~, accept penance assigned by a confessor; nimen (taken, underfongen) ~ of, accept penance for (sins); (b) repentance, penitence; don ~, to repent; nimen ~ of, repent of (sins); (c) used analogically of pre-Christian times: punishment for sin; also, a pagan confession [1st quot.].
4.
Used to translate Vulgate confessio or in theol. contexts based on this use: acknowledgment of the attributes of God.