Middle English shrine "repository in which a holy object or the relics of a saint are kept," from late Old English scrin "ark (of the covenant); chest, coffer; case for relics," from Latin scrinium "case or box for keeping papers," a word of unknown origin.
A widespread Latin borrowing: compare Dutch schrijn, German Schrein, French écrin, (Old French escrin, escrien), Russian skrynya, Lithuanian skrinė. It is attested in English from late 14c. as "a tomb of a saint" (usually elaborate and large).
updated on September 20, 2022