Hair Shirt

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Hair Shirt

An informal term for an austerity measure. The term derives from shirts made of animal hair that religious figures have worn as a sign of penance. Austerity measures are adopted to make up for (or even to do penance for) excessive government debt.
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References in periodicals archive ?
We've just begun to weave the hair shirts that many broadcast folks will be wearing for the next year or so while they analyze their performances and prepare to do better next time.
Penitents were required to crop their hair, wear hair shirts (goat hair, not their own), practice celibacy, and prostrate themselves before the bishop, who would literally walk over their backs on his way into the church for Mass.
Ever since Larry's lament in The New York Times that lesbians are not stepping in to referee the playground fight between his people (the hair Shirts) versus Sex Panic!
It's a boys' schoolyard brawl, pitting the Hair Shirts against the Foreskins.