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[shriv-uh n] /ˈʃrɪv ən/
a past participle of shrive.
Related forms
unshriven, adjective


[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 shriven
Historical Examples
  • Away to your chamber, sweeting, and keep a blithe face, for she who confesses is shriven.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • There are two confessionals, in one or the other of which we must be shriven.

    Essays, First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Spectres of uncharitableness were disturbing her and she sought to be shriven.


    George Looms
  • Truth is stern, Huber; fight then lustily, and get you shriven to-morrow.

    The Serf Guy Thorne
  • Confess to its perfection, and be shriven Of any thought less fair.

    The Mortal Gods and Other Plays Olive Tilford Dargan
  • Were it otherwise, indeed, few would be well baptized or wed or shriven.

    Red Eve H. Rider Haggard
  • If ever a human being needed to be shriven he thought it was himself.

  • And fetch the priest of St. Martin's, for I would confess and be shriven.

    The Path of the King John Buchan
  • Before setting out on a cruise they were shriven and absolved.

  • As for that, said Sir Bors, I will be shriven with a good will.

British Dictionary definitions for shriven


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 shriven

past participle of shrive (v.).



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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