san·​be·​ni·​to | \ ˌsan-bə-ˈnē-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce sanbenito (audio) , ˌsam- \
plural sanbenitos

Definition of sanbenito

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a sackcloth coat worn by penitents on being reconciled to the church
2 : a Spanish Inquisition garment resembling a scapular and being either yellow with red crosses for the penitent or black with painted devils and flames for the impenitent condemned to an auto-da-fé

San Benito

geographical name
San Be·​ni·​to | \ ˌsan-bə-ˈnē-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce San Benito (audio) \

Definition of San Benito (Entry 2 of 2)

city in southernmost Texas northwest of Brownsville population 24,250

First Known Use of sanbenito


circa 1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sanbenito


Spanish sambenito, from San Benito St. Benedict of Nursia

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The first known use of sanbenito was circa 1560

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Cite this Entry

“Sanbenito.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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