- coarse cloth worn as a sign of mourning or penitence.
- in sackcloth and ashes, in a state of repentance or sorrow; contrite: She would be in sackcloth and ashes for days over every trifling error she made.
- coarse cloth such as sacking
- garments made of such cloth, worn formerly to indicate mourning or penitence
- sackcloth and ashes a public display of extreme grief, remorse, or repentance
n.penitential or grieving garb, late 13c., literally “cloth of which sacks are made,” from sack (n.1) + cloth. In the Biblical sense it was of goats’ or camels’ hair, the coarsest possible clothing.