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  • WordNet 3.6
    • n sackcloth a coarse cloth resembling sacking
    • n sackcloth a garment made of coarse sacking; formerly worn as an indication of remorse
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Sackcloth Linen or cotton cloth such as sacks are made of; coarse cloth; anciently, a cloth or garment worn in mourning, distress, mortification, or penitence. "Gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner.""Thus with sackcloth I invest my woe."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n sackcloth Cloth of which sacks are made, usually a cloth of hemp or flax.
    • n sackcloth A coarse kind of cloth worn as a sign of grief, humiliation, or penitence; hence, the garb of mourning or penance.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Sackcloth cloth for sacks: coarse cloth formerly worn in mourning or penance
    • ***


Wear sackcloth and ashes - If someone displays their grief or contrition publicly, they wear sackcloth and ashes.


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. sacc—L. saccus—Gr. sakkos—Heb. saq, a coarse cloth or garment, prob. Egyptian.


In literature:

My broker, Mr. X., came to me, quite submissive, doing penance in sackcloth and ashes.
"Dr. Dumany's Wife" by Mór Jókai
The Hebrew would sit in sackcloth and ashes to atone for his offences and to induce the proper spiritual submission.
"Platform Monologues" by T. G. Tucker
And he went as far as the king's gate, for no one could enter the gate clothed with sackcloth.
"The Children's Bible" by Henry A. Sherman
It doesn't need sackcloth and ashes to carry our loved ones home, dear.
"At the Little Brown House" by Ruth Alberta Brown
His parcel proved to be rough sackcloth, on the outside of which a paper was pinned.
"The Tinted Venus" by F. Anstey
He therefore bought a piece of sackcloth, poorly woven, and filled with prickly wooden fibres.
"The Autobiography of St. Ignatius" by Saint Ignatius Loyola
She looked wretchedly haggard and careworn in her sackcloth robe, with her short-cut grey hairs left bare.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 348" by Various
She is known to confess, and is suspected of wearing sackcloth.
"Mystic London:" by Charles Maurice Davies
I would live as the Sibyls that gave good counsel and lived in rocky cells in sackcloth.
"Privy Seal" by Ford Madox Ford
Now, this state of things, if produced in any other way, would spread weeping and sackcloth over nations and continents.
"Select Temperance Tracts" by American Tract Society
They had dressed her in a garment of coarse sackcloth.
"Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen" by Hans Christian Andersen
And Jacob rent his garments, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
"Select Masterpieces of Biblical Literature" by Various
They ought to go in sackcloth, those narrow-sighted, blind rulers.
"Diary from March 4, 1861, to November 12, 1862" by Adam Gurowski
They had put upon her a garment of coarse sackcloth.
"Boys and Girls Bookshelf (Vol 2 of 17)" by Various
Giving a hitch to her sackcloth, she departed and banged the door.
"A Great Man" by Arnold Bennett
If I am a means of ultimate loss to him, I shall sit in sackcloth.
"The Brownings" by Lilian Whiting
Rise, worship, bless Him, in this sackcloth spun, As in that purple.
"Vashti" by Augusta J. Evans Wilson
It was failing her, and in sackcloth and ashes she was mourning it.
"The Vision of Elijah Berl" by Frank Lewis Nason
They had dressed her in a garment of coarse sackcloth.
"Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales" by Hans Christian Andersen
A whole year of sackcloth and ashes would not be penance for such iniquity.
"A Day's Ride A Life's Romance" by Charles James Lever

In poetry:

So Rome, our Sackcloth shall remoue,
and with Palme bowes wee sing:
Hosanna, and Halaluiah,
to Christ our Head and King.
"A description of olde Rome" by Roger Cotton
Rise, stricken city! from thee throw
The ashen sackcloth of thy woe;
And build, as to Amphion's strain,
To songs of cheer thy walls again!
"Chicago" by John Greenleaf Whittier
"Do you so proud forget what hands have borne
You to the heights and crowned you?
Would you behold what sackcloth has been worn
That laurels may surround you?"...
"The Strong Man To His Sires" by Cale Young Rice
“My love, a darken'd conscience clothes
The world in sackcloth; and, I fear,
The stain of life this new heart loathes,
Still clouds my sight; but thine is clear.
" Stars and Moon" by Coventry Patmore
During my illness, make, O Lord! my bed,
My sackcloth rend, and turn to joy my grief,
Dry up the tears, which I so long have shed,
Assuage my pain, and give me some relief.
"Another On The Same Subject " by Rees Prichard
No sackcloth robe, nor ashen-sprinkled hair,
Nor wasting fast, nor scourge, nor vigil long,
Marred her calm presence. God had made her fair,
And she could do His goodly work no wrong.
"The Two Elizabeths" by John Greenleaf Whittier

In news:

The evening sun shines through the sackcloth screen on Alma 's window.
4 And the Mayor called together his faithful in a place called Boutwell, and there they donned sackcloth and the ministers marked the foreheads of the faithful with ashes.
Joe Biden hasn't gotten knocked off his horse, and Nanci Pelosi hasn't started wearing Sackcloth by Armani.