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In sack cloth and ashes

[sak-klawth, -kloth] /ˈsækˌklɔθ, -ˌklɒθ/

coarse 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

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.

cloth made of black goats’ hair, coarse, rough, and thick, used for sacks, and also worn by mourners (Gen. 37:34; 42:25; 2 Sam. 3:31; Esther 4:1, 2; Ps. 30:11, etc.), and as a sign of repentance (Matt. 11:21). It was put upon animals by the people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:8).


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