hair shirt


Definition of hair shirt

1 : a shirt made of rough animal hair worn next to the skin as a penance
2 : one that irritates like a hair shirt

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Examples of hair shirt in a Sentence

the constant need to cut costs was a hair shirt, but one that the theater company had to live with
Recent Examples on the Web Asking billions of people to don an unwashed hair shirt wouldn’t work; the solution would have to be rapid technological innovation. Jon Gertner, Wired, "Rivian Wants to Bring Electric Trucks to the Masses," 1 Apr. 2020 Even a hair shirt worn voluntarily is uncomfortable. Aaron Timms, The New Republic, "Privacy Policy," 27 Jan. 2020 Highlights from the list of 175 individual objects include a hair shirt and finger bone believed to have belonged to St. Nicholas -- better known as Santa Claus -- and relics from Christ's birthplace. Rory Sullivan, CNN, "'Santa's finger bone' among medieval treasures given to English monastery," 18 Dec. 2019 Might fashion be the next business to suffer as consumers put on their environmental hair shirts? Washington Post, "Do Your Gucci Loafers Make You Feel Ashamed?," 4 Oct. 2019 On the evidence in these pages, a hair shirt will not be in Sunstein’s future. Aaron Timms, The New Republic, "The Sameness of Cass Sunstein," 20 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hair shirt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hair shirt

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for hair shirt

Time Traveler

The first known use of hair shirt was in the 14th century

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Statistics for hair shirt

Cite this Entry

“Hair shirt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hair shirt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hair shirt

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