sackcloth

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wear sackcloth and ashes

To act in a way that shows one's penitence or remorse for one's misdeeds or poor behavior. Darren has been wearing sackcloth and ashes ever since his girlfriend broke up with him for cheating on her. There's no way to turn back time on the way I treated my brother growing up. All I can do now is wear sackcloth and ashes.
See also: and, ash, sackcloth, wear

in sackcloth and ashes

Behaving in a way that shows one's penitence or remorse for one's misdeeds or poor behavior. Darren has been in sackcloth and ashes ever since his girlfriend broke up with him for cheating on her. There's no way to turn back time on the way I treated my brother growing up. All I can do now is stay in sackcloth and ashes.
See also: and, ash, sackcloth

sackcloth and ashes

  (slightly formal)
if you wear sackcloth and ashes, you show by your behaviour that you are very sorry for something you did wrong
Usage notes: In the past, clothes made of sackcloth (= a rough cloth) were worn by the Jews in religious activities to show that they were sad or sorry for the things they had done wrong.
I've already apologized. How long must I wear sackcloth and ashes before you'll forgive me?
See also: and, ash, sackcloth

sackcloth and ashes

Mourning or penitence, as in What I did to Julie's child was terrible, and I've been in sackcloth and ashes ever since . This term refers to the ancient Hebrew custom of indicating humility before God by wearing a coarse cloth, normally used to make sacks, and dusting oneself with ashes. In English it appeared in William Tyndale's 1526 biblical translations (Matthew 11:21), "They [the cities Tyre and Sidon] had repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes."
See also: and, ash, sackcloth