hair shirt

|

noun

a garment of coarse haircloth, worn next to the skin as a penance by ascetics and penitents.
self-imposed punishment, suffering, sacrifice, or penance.

Nearby words

  1. hair papilla,
  2. hair restorer,
  3. hair root,
  4. hair seal,
  5. hair sheep,
  6. hair slide,
  7. hair space,
  8. hair spray,
  9. hair stroke,
  10. hair style

Origin of hair shirt

1350–1400; cf. hair

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hair-shirt


British Dictionary definitions for hair-shirt

hair shirt

noun

a shirt made of haircloth worn next to the skin as a penance
a secret trouble or affliction
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hair-shirt

hair-shirt

n.

garment of ascetics and penitents, 1680s, from hair + shirt. Figurative use by 1884. Earlier, such a garment was called simply a hair.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with hair-shirt

hair shirt

A self-imposed punishment or penance, as in I apologized a dozen times—do you want me to wear a hair shirt forever? This term, mentioned from the 13th century on, alludes to wearing a coarse, scratchy hair shirt, the practice of religious ascetics. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1800s.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.