‘Short shrift’ - the meaning and origin of this phrase 

Shrift? Not a word you hear every day. In fact, apart from in this expression, it is now so rarely used that it’s hard to think of a shrift that isn’t short. The verb form, shrive, is also now an almost forgotten antique. A shrift is a penance (a prescribed penalty) imposed by a priest in a confession in order to provide absolution, often when the confessor was near to death. In the 17th century, criminals were sent to the scaffold immediately after sentencing and only had time for a ‘short shrift’ before being hanged.

Is There Any Point to Protesting? | The New Yorker 

The missing ingredients, Tufekci believes, are the structures and communication patterns that appear when a fixed group works together over time. That practice puts the oil in the well-oiled machine. It is what contemporary adhocracy appears to lack, and what projects such as the postwar civil-rights movement had in abundance. And it is why, she thinks, despite their limits in communication, these earlier protests often achieved more.

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