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Jan 19, 2016
This week’s theme
Clothing terms used metaphorically

This week’s words
brass hat
sackcloth
straitlaced
sansculotte
bootleg

sackcloth
A sackclothed man in front of the US Supreme Court, protesting against the gays. As they say, don’t judge them by their clothes. Your clothes indicate contrition and humility, but your goal is to make life difficult for your fellow human beings.

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

sackcloth

PRONUNCIATION:
(SAK-kloth)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A coarse cloth of jute, flax, etc., used for making sacks.
2. A garment made of this cloth, worn to express remorse, humility, grief, etc.
3. An expression of penitence, mourning, humility, etc.

ETYMOLOGY:
From the Bible in which wearing of sackcloth and sprinkling of ashes is indicated as a sign of repentance, mourning, humility, etc. Earliest documented use: before 1400.

USAGE:
“This disappointment, coming just at the time when the yearly interest upon the mortgage was due, had brought upon his father one of those paroxysms of helpless gloom and discouragement in which the very world itself seemed clothed in sackcloth.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe; The Writings of Harriet Beecher Stowe; Houghton, Mifflin; 1865.

“‘Don’t speak to him, Laura,’ she had said. ‘It will show how we despise him for his disgraceful conduct, and make him the sooner come creeping to our knees in sackcloth and ashes.’”
George Manville Fenn; Blind Policy; John Long; 1904.

See more usage examples of sackcloth in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. -Edgar Allan Poe, poet and short-story writer (19 Jan 1809-1849)

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