sack·​cloth | \ ˈsa(k)-ˌklȯth How to pronounce sackcloth (audio) \

Definition of sackcloth

1 : a coarse cloth of goat or camel's hair or of flax, hemp, or cotton
2 : a garment of sackcloth worn as a sign of mourning or penitence

Examples of sackcloth in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Image Once there was a man who wore the finest silks in Italy, but traded them all for sackcloth. Jason Farago, New York Times, "‘Heavenly Bodies’ Brings the Fabric of Faith to the Met," 9 May 2018 One of the dancers has a suppurating wound wrapped in sackcloth. Sophy Roberts, Condé Nast Traveler, "Navigating Tradition and Tourism in Papua New Guinea," 3 May 2018 Like in medieval times when people wore sackcloth and ashes, the ash mark is a call to repentance and preparation in the season leading up to Easter, which will be on April 16 for Christians around the world. Greg Garrison,, "What is Ash Wednesday? Why do people have ash marks on the forehead?," 14 Feb. 2018 The ashes also represent penance — sackcloth and ashes. The Enquirer,, "Ash Wednesday: Wearing ashes marks the beginning of Lent," 14 Feb. 2018 And there will still be someone who feels a need to leave a comment saying that the sackcloth is decadent. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Stop Shaming Women for Spending Money," 8 Feb. 2018 These comments show people will not be happy until women are wearing sackcloth and refusing any sustenance but the raindrops that fall into their open mouths. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Stop Shaming Women for Spending Money," 8 Feb. 2018 Theron dresses up as an MI6 killer-chick in Atomic Blonde, and Cotillard wears sackcloth couture portraying another hard-luck dame under the thumb of the patriarchy, in From the Land of the Moon. Armond White, National Review, "From the Land of the Moon," 28 July 2017 Go sit in sackcloth and ashes or whatever and look within. Chuck Plunkett, The Denver Post, "The greatest performance artist of all time," 2 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sackcloth.' 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 sackcloth

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sackcloth

sack entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near sackcloth


sack borer



sack cloud

sack coat


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

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English Language Learners Definition of sackcloth

: rough cloth that is used for making sacks

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sackcloth

Nglish: Translation of sackcloth for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sackcloth

Comments on sackcloth

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not constant or steady

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