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short shrift, give

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Also, get short shrift. Give (or receive) cursory attention or little time. For example, The architect made elaborate plans for the entry but gave short shift to the back of the house. Literally, shrift refers to confession to a priest, who gives absolution and penance, and short shrift to the brief time allowed for this sacrament to a prisoner before execution. Shakespeare so used it in Richard III (3:4), but it came to be used more loosely in succeeding centuries. [Late 1800s]

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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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