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n. pl. san·be·ni·tos
A garment of sackcloth worn at an auto-da-fé of the Spanish Inquisition by condemned heretics, being yellow with red crosses for the penitent and black with painted flames and devils for the impenitent.
[Spanish sambenito, after San Benito, Saint Benedict of Nursia (from its similarity to the scapular supposedly introduced by him).]
n, pl -tos
1. (Clothing & Fashion) a yellow garment bearing a red cross, worn by penitent heretics in the Inquisition
2. (Clothing & Fashion) a black garment bearing flames and devils, worn by impenitent heretics at an auto-da-fé
[C16: from Spanish San Benito Saint Benedict, an ironical allusion to its likeness to the Benedictine scapular]
san•be•ni•to(ˌsæn bəˈni toʊ)
n., pl. -tos. (under the Spanish Inquisition)
1. a yellow garment worn by a penitent heretic.
2. a black garment worn by an impenitent heretic at an auto-da-fé.
[1550–60; < Sp, after San Benito Saint Benedict]