sackcloth and ashes


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Related to sackcloth and ashes: wear sackcloth and ashes

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
References in periodicals archive ?
A profit warning from Britain's second biggest clothing retailer saw the sector wearing sackcloth and ashes yesterday.
Look, if we went in with sackcloth and ashes and fired the whole White House staff,'' the president told his press secretary, ``that isn't going to satisfy these goddamn cannibals.
Aren't sackcloth and ashes passed to those accustomed to lifting their spirits with a quick jog and a natural endorphin high?
That strident minority which insisted upon wasting so much capital resource on the development of wind farms should be dressed in sackcloth and ashes and made to repay the costs.
It would have been more appropriate for him to arrive in sackcloth and ashes to indicate a penitential church rather than a triumphal tour with all the accouterments of royalty.
The only time I want to see her again is in sackcloth and ashes, having renounced her millions.
He says the IRA must put on sackcloth and ashes to atone for past atrocities.
Germany should be in sackcloth and ashes for a full 100 years for what they allowed the Nazis to do in their name.
The Hammers are almost certainly not as bad as the league table suggests but they should be wearing sackcloth and ashes after their wretched capitulation in a 5-0 drubbing at Everton last time out.
Neither has there been the slightest rustle of sackcloth and ashes.
Seeing as sorry seems to be the easiest word at the Beeb I await their donning of yet more sackcloth and ashes in due course.
IF I hear one more media comment on the amazing transformation of Ian Paisley I'm going to start handing out the sackcloth and ashes.
If this is the kind of advice the pope is getting these days, we had all better get out the sackcloth and ashes.
Or we could be donning sackcloth and ashes and conducting glum inquests into what is wrong with our game if two Premiership giants are eliminated.
Hills make him 12-1 to leave before the end of the series, putting the sack in sackcloth and Ashes.