[hair-klawth, -kloth]


cloth of hair from the manes and tails of horses, woven with a cotton warp, and used for interlinings of clothes, upholstery, etc.

Origin of haircloth

First recorded in 1490–1500; hair + cloth
Also called cilice. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for haircloth

Historical Examples of haircloth

  • Miss Isobel's attitude toward her mother was that of a monk to his haircloth shirt.


    Alice Hegan Rice

  • In this parlor were six haircloth chairs and a sofa to match.

  • See, place your feet on this roll, and let me cover them with the haircloth—so; does that suit you?'

    Penshurst Castle

    Emma Marshall

  • I could smell the old carpets and the haircloth covering of the chairs.

    Explorers of the Dawn

    Mazo de la Roche

  • The seats were covered with rep, but must have had haircloth on them at one time.

    Polly's Business Venture

    Lillian Elizabeth Roy

British Dictionary definitions for haircloth



a cloth woven from horsehair, used in upholstery
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 haircloth

c.1500, from hair + cloth.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper