follow Dictionary.com

It’s about time. We are now on Instagram!

hair shirt

noun
1.
a garment of coarse haircloth, worn next to the skin as a penance by ascetics and penitents.
2.
self-imposed punishment, suffering, sacrifice, or penance.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; cf. hair
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for hair shirt
  • Under his episcopal ornaments he wore a rough hair shirt, and had no better covering to his bed than sackcloth.
  • He always wore a hair shirt, took his short rest sitting, and spent great part of the night in prayer.
  • The holy hermit loaded himself with a heavy iron chain, and his garment was a rough hair shirt, made of large hair of camels.
  • She wore continually a hair shirt, and a girdle of horse-hair.
  • He wore a rough hair shirt, and used frequent disciplines.
  • But he was not about to trade his ermine robes for a hair shirt.
  • Old wives tales and hair shirt shibboleths are dark age economics which will reintroduce dark age societies.
  • He's kept the abominable to himself, his own secret hair shirt.
  • We will cheerfully wear our brothers as a hair shirt and go with our duty.
British Dictionary definitions for hair shirt

hair shirt

noun
1.
a shirt made of haircloth worn next to the skin as a penance
2.
a secret trouble or affliction
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with hair shirt

hair shirt

A self-imposed punishment or penance, as in I apologized a dozen times—do you want me to wear a hair shirt forever? This term, mentioned from the 13th century on, alludes to wearing a coarse, scratchy hair shirt, the practice of religious ascetics. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1800s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for hair shirt

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for hair

7
6
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with hair shirt