Definition of cilice in English:



  • 1A hair shirt.

    ‘The cilice mentioned in the novel is a thigh-mounted type, but i guess the original cilices were coarse hairy shirts.’
    • ‘In the evening we keep pious conversation while attending to pious works such as making rosaries, cilices and repairing books.’
    • ‘Nuns of some religious orders wear a hair cloth or cilice next their skin.’
    1. 1.1A spiked garter or other device worn by penitents and ascetics.
      ‘His descriptions of the practice of corporal mortification is also inaccurate, as is his representation of the cilice and the discipline.’
      • ‘The cilice creates a minor leg irritation which is intended to be a reminder of Christ's suffering.’
      • ‘I don't fancy that 'cilice' very much.’
      • ‘This is an actual cilice worn by numeraries around their bare thighs for two hours a day.’
      • ‘Critics say it encourages flagellation and the use of the cilice - a belt tightened around the thigh with metal prongs pointing inwards which is used in some religious orders.’



/ˈsiləs/ /ˈsɪləs/


Late 16th century from French, from Latin cilicium, from Greek kilikion, from Kilikia, the Greek name for Cilicia in Asia Minor (because hair shirts were originally made of Cilician goats' hair).