hair shirt

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WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2016
hair shirt, 
  1. Religiona garment of coarse haircloth, worn next to the skin as a penance by ascetics and penitents.
  2. self-imposed punishment, suffering, sacrifice, or penance.
  • compare hair 1350–1400


Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

hair shirt n
  1. a shirt made of haircloth worn next to the skin as a penance
  2. a secret trouble or affliction



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