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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Although he feels sorry for Giggsy, he was only too happy to hand over the hair-shirt.
It is an interrogation without answers, even as the hair-shirt ritual offers answers without the necessary interrogation.
Bosk's richly descriptive account of the hair-shirt ritual allows readers to identify vestiges of ancient Jewish and Christian practices concerning forgiveness.
Ken is living proof of the fact that you don't have to wear a hair-shirt to be a socialist.
If he passes that test then it's on the blower to Umbro to see whether they can design an extra-large hair-shirt Scotland top.
We wear their hair-shirt skins and read their furious minds.
The hair-shirt Premier is commendably determined to measure them all for one of his economy suits.
Not so long ago the idea of Bach in 'period' performance would evoke precious, hair-shirt readings of inverse communicative returns; nothing could be further from the truth in last night's fresh, lively presentations from the personable and youthful Bach Players.
Tatchell is one of those invaluable hair-shirt consciences all societies need.
The hair-shirt is a trifle itchy, but I am getting used to it.
With a predicted EUR6billion shortfall in taxes, tough-talking Brian Lenihan said "difficult decisions" would have to be taken - fuelling fears of hair-shirt measures.
The Chameleon Arts Baroque Orchestra added its lively contribution, though some inconsistencies of tuning and tone-quality made one occasionally fear that the bad old days of hair-shirt period performance might be set to return.