sack·​cloth ˈsa(k)-ˌklȯth How to pronounce sackcloth (audio)
: a coarse cloth of goat or camel's hair or of flax, hemp, or cotton
: a garment of sackcloth worn as a sign of mourning or penitence

Examples of sackcloth in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the end, de Hales agreed to abjure the realm, which meant walking, barefoot, to the port of Chester, a hundred and thirty miles away, holding a wooden cross and wearing sackcloth, and taking a ship across the Irish Sea, never to return. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, 12 Mar. 2024 While sackcloths have fallen out of use, the meaning of wearing ashes on Ash Wednesday has stayed the same. Christine Rousselle, Fox News, 14 Feb. 2024 These people wore sackcloth, were sprinkled with ashes and remained apart until they were reconciled with the Christian community. Chris Sims, The Courier-Journal, 14 Feb. 2024 In Jesus' time, sackcloths and ashes were used as a public display of repentance, says Bible Study Tools. Christine Rousselle, Fox News, 14 Feb. 2024 The reality of the ongoing reshaping of the PGA Tour is that greater riches for the elite will invariably come at the expense of the sackcloth contingent, the not-so-silent majority who don’t sell tickets, don’t draw eyeballs and don’t make a bad living. Eamon Lynch, The Arizona Republic, 8 Feb. 2023 Zoom calls with bosses now dressed in a sackcloth. Steve Johnson,, 29 Dec. 2020 As this new Apple clip a year later indicates, sackcloth and ashes about U2 are still no longer his thing. Chris Willman, Variety, 16 Mar. 2023 The ashes also represent penance – sackcloth and ashes. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 21 Feb. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sackcloth.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


sack entry 1

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sackcloth was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near sackcloth

Cite this Entry

“Sackcloth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


sack·​cloth ˈsak-ˌ(k)lȯth How to pronounce sackcloth (audio)
: rough cloth for sacks
: a garment of sackcloth worn as a sign of sorrow

More from Merriam-Webster on sackcloth

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