shrive. Forgiveness; a pardon.of a priest) hear the confession of, assign penance to, and absolve (someone). • (shrive oneself) present oneself to a priest for confession, penance, and absolution. ORIGIN Old English scrīfan‘impose as a penance,’ of Germanic origin; related to Dutch schrijven and German schreiben ‘write,’ from Latin scribere ‘write.’ This word has origins in both Old English and Middle English. It entered our English usage around the 10th century.