Find the word definition

Crossword clues for cilice

The Collaborative International Dictionary

Cilice \Cil"ice\, n. [F. See Cilicious.] A kind of haircloth undergarment.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Old English cilic, from Latin cilicium "a covering," a type of coarse garment (used especially by soldiers and sailors), originally one of Cilician goat hair, from Greek kilikion "coarse cloth," from Kilikia "Cilicia" in Asia Minor. By tradition in Greek mythology the place was named for Cilix, a son of the Phoenician king Agenor.


n. 1 A hairshirt. 2 (context chiefly in Opus Dei English) A leather strap studded with metallic barbs that cut into flesh as a constant reminder of Christ's suffering.


A cilice was originally a garment or undergarment made of coarse cloth or animal hair (a hairshirt) worn close to the skin. It was used in some religious traditions to induce discomfort or pain as a sign of repentance and atonement.

Cilices were originally made from sackcloth or coarse animal hair so they would irritate the skin. Other features were added to make cilices more uncomfortable, such as thin wires or twigs.

In modern religious circles, it simply means any device worn for the same purposes.

Usage examples of "cilice".

The spiked cilice belt that he wore around his thigh cut into his flesh, and yet his soul sang with satisfaction of service to the Lord.

Looking down, he examined the spiked cilice belt clamped around his thigh.

Another university student had used his barbed cilice belt more often than the recommended two hours a day and had given himself a near lethal infection.

His thigh flexed instinctively, causing the barbed cilice belt to cut painfully into his flesh.

Then he turned and knelt in the front pew, feeling the cilice cut into his leg.

He had yet to remove the cilice belt, and he could feel the blood trickling down his inner thigh.

Ignoring the slash of pain from his cilice, Silas retrieved his gun and began the long trek up the grassy slope.

The Las Viudas Cilice is a device suggested by Jesuit practice, worn secretly, impossible, once secur'd, to remove, producing what some call Discom fort, enough to keep thoughts from straying far from God.

Instead, her bare feet go creeping, one after the other, like docile birds, toward the waiting trap of the Cilice, and then each, lifting, fluttering, passes into the Realm of Thorns.