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[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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shrive
Historical Examples
  • shrive me for obeying the Bishop, and bringing doom upon the heretics!

    One Snowy Night Emily Sarah Holt
  • Did ever “Father Confessor” have so sweet and so wilful a sinner to shrive!

  • Yet if Father Bastian refused to shrive me, what should come of me?

    All's Well Emily Sarah Holt
  • Confess, dear sinner; I will shrive you and grant absolution for the past, whatever it may be.

    Moods Louisa May Alcott
  • Who will shrive these poor fellows, then, if you have turned your back upon them?

    Robin Hood Paul Creswick
  • They went to shrive the dying, bury the dead, and console the bereaved.

  • 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
  • The Prince goes to shrive himself, and right wisely he judges.

    Joan of the Sword Hand S(amuel) R(utherford) Crockett
  • For they shrive them and housel them evermore once or twice in the week.

  • A priest, a priest, sayes Aldingàr, Me for to houzle and shrive.

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
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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
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