sackcloth

[sak-klawth, -kloth]
noun
2.
coarse cloth worn as a sign of mourning or penitence.
Idioms
3.
in sackcloth and ashes, in a state of repentance or sorrow; contrite: She would be in sackcloth and ashes for days over every trifling error she made.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English; see sack1, cloth

sackclothed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
sackcloth (ˈsækˌklɒθ)
 
n
1.  coarse cloth such as sacking
2.  garments made of such cloth, worn formerly to indicate mourning or penitence
3.  sackcloth and ashes a public display of extreme grief, remorse, or repentance

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

sackcloth
penitential garb, c.1300, from sack (n.1) + cloth. In the Biblical sense it was of goats' or camels' hair, the coarsest possible clothing.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Sackcloth definition


cloth made of black goats' hair, coarse, rough, and thick, used for sacks, and also worn by mourners (Gen. 37:34; 42:25; 2 Sam. 3:31; Esther 4:1, 2; Ps. 30:11, etc.), and as a sign of repentance (Matt. 11:21). It was put upon animals by the people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:8).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
They graze on munchies until they figure it's time to diet, and then they cover
  themselves with ashes and sackcloth.
They wore sackcloth tunics and fishnet shirts studded with crocheted pouches
  that were supposed to stop bullets.
Prudence is the watchword now: sackcloth after the brilliant silks and brocades
  of the gilded age.
Under his episcopal ornaments he wore a rough hair shirt, and had no better
  covering to his bed than sackcloth.
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