Monday, August 24, 2009

Words That Should Get a Divorce (One in an occasional series on words whose relationships have grown tired)

short and shrift

On some level, I like the expression short shrift. But I just can't condone such unhealthy codependency. Like trove and amok, shrift is devoted to a partner that doesn't return the loyalty. On any given day, short can be seen running around all over town with everything from sell to order cook to man's disease.

This case of codependency is so bad that shrift has pretty much lost its own identity. and American Heritage via don't give shrift an entry at all. Dictionaries that do tend to treat it as archaic and define it as: "a remission of sins pronounced by a priest in the sacrament of reconciliation," which leaves the reader wondering how this resulted in the short shrift we know today, which roughly means "careless treatment" or "scant attention." tries to shed a little light on the matter, but doesn't fully connect the dots. In other words, shrift gets short shrift.

I say shrift needs to go out on a date with long. A long date.

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