Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words


[shrahyv] /ʃraɪv/
verb (used with object), shrove or shrived, shriven or shrived, shriving.
to impose penance on (a sinner).
to grant absolution to (a penitent).
to hear the confession of (a person).
verb (used without object), shrove or shrived, shriven or shrived, shriving. Archaic.
to hear confessions.
to go to or make confession; confess one's sins, as to a priest.
Origin of shrive
before 900; Middle English shriven, schrifen, Old English scrīfan to prescribe, cognate with German schreiben to write ≪ Latin scrībere; see scribe1
Related forms
unshrived, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for shrive
Historical Examples
  • The priest is busy, and knowing he must shrive you to-morrow, he will be ill inclined to trouble himself superfluously to-night.

    The Infidel, Vol. I. Robert Montgomery Bird
  • shrive me for obeying the Bishop, and bringing doom upon the heretics!

    One Snowy Night Emily Sarah Holt
  • These are plain words; but I would rather that another priest should shrive her whom I love!

  • Confess, dear sinner; I will shrive you and grant absolution for the past, whatever it may be.

    Moods Louisa May Alcott
  • Two Dominicans, sent for to shrive the victim, implored the Count to pause; but 'Kill him, kill him!

    Belgium George W. T. (George William Thomson) Omond
  • They went to shrive the dying, bury the dead, and console the bereaved.

  • But in the middle of his frugal meal a female servant came running, and begged him to come and shrive her dying master.

  • This is naughty, I know, but as I have gone into the confessional, I will make a clean "shrive" of it.

    Ginger-Snaps Fanny Fern
  • "If it might be permitted I would dearly love to shrive them," said the palmer, still hesitating.

    Robin Hood Paul Creswick
  • For they shrive them and housel them evermore once or twice in the week.

British Dictionary definitions for shrive


verb (mainly RC Church) shrives, shriving, shrove, shrived, shriven (ˈʃrɪvən), shrived
to hear the confession of (a penitent)
(transitive) to impose a penance upon (a penitent) and grant him sacramental absolution
(intransitive) to confess one's sins to a priest in order to obtain sacramental forgiveness
Derived Forms
shriver, noun
Word Origin
Old English scrīfan, from Latin scrībere to write
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for shrive

Old English scrifan "assign, prescribe, ordain, decree; impose penance, hear confession; have regard for, care for," apparently originally "to write" (strong, past tense scraf, past participle scrifen), from West Germanic *skriban (cf. Old Saxon scriban, Old Frisian skriva "write; impose penance;" Old Dutch scrivan, Dutch schrijven, German schreiben "to write, draw, paint;" Danish skrifte "confess"), an early borrowing from Latin scribere "to write" (see script (n.)), which in Old English and Scandinavian developed further to "confess, hear confession."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for shrive

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for shrive

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for shrive