a long, close-fitting garment worn by members of the clergy or others participating in church services.
a lightweight, double-breasted ecclesiastical coat or jacket, worn under the Geneva gown.
a member of the clergy.

1540–50; < Middle French casaque, perhaps < a Turkic word akin to the source of cossack Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To cassock
World English Dictionary
cassock (ˈkæsək)
Christianity an ankle-length garment, usually black, worn by priests and choristers
[C16: from Old French casaque, from Italian casacca a long coat, of uncertain origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

c.1550, from M.Fr. casaque "long coat," probably ultimately from Turk. quzzak "nomad, adventurer," (the source of Cossack), an allusion to their typical riding coat. Or perhaps from Arabic kazagand, from Pers. kazhagand "padded coat," from kazh "raw silk" + agana "stuffed."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


long garment worn by Roman Catholic and other clergy both as ordinary dress and under liturgical garments. The cassock, with button closure, has long sleeves and fits the body closely. In the Roman Catholic church the colour and trim vary with the ecclesiastical rank of the wearer: the pope wears plain white, cardinals black with scarlet trim, archbishops and bishops black with red trim, and lesser clergy plain black. In choir and church ceremonies the pope wears a white silk cassock; cardinals wear scarlet, except in penitential seasons when they wear purple; and lesser clergy wear plain black.

Learn more about cassock with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature