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From French chagrin (sorrow). Prior to that, the etymology is unclear, with several theories – of Germanic.

From dialectal French chagraigner (to be gloomy, distress), from chat (cat) + Old French graim (sorrow, gloom; sorrowful, gloomy) (from Frankish gram), a loan translation of German Katzenjammer (drunken hang-over), from Katzen (cats) + Jammer (distress, sorrow, lament). Akin to German Gram[1], Old Norse gramr (wroth) (whence Danish gram), Old English grama (anger), grim (grim, gloomy) (Modern English grim).

Another theory derives French chagrin from the verb chagriner, in its turn from Old French grigner, which is of Germanic origin and cognate to English grin.[2]. More at cat, grim, grimace, grin, yammer.



chagrin (countable and uncountable, plural chagrins)

  1. Distress of mind caused by a failure of aims or plans, want of appreciation, mistakes etc; vexation or mortification.
    • 1876, Louisa May Alcott, Rose In Bloom, ch. 8:
      [H]e alone knew how deep was the deluded man's chagrin at the failure of the little plot which he fancied was prospering finely.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 1, The Tragedy in Dartmoor Terrace[1]:
      “Mrs. Yule's chagrin and horror at what she called her son's base ingratitude knew no bounds ; at first it was even thought that she would never get over it. […]”
  2. A type of leather or skin with a rough surface.[3]

Usage notes[edit]

  • Often used in the form to one’s chagrin.




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See also[edit]


chagrin (third-person singular simple present chagrins, present participle chagrining, simple past and past participle chagrined)

  1. (transitive) To bother or vex; to mortify.
    She was chagrined to note that the paint had dried into a blotchy mess.
  2. (intransitive) To be vexed or annoyed.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Fielding to this entry?)

Usage notes[edit]

  • The verb form is rarely found in other than passive voice.



  1. ^ chagrin” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).
  2. ^ Le Robert pour tous, Dictionnaire de la langue française, Janvier 2004, page 169, chagrin and chagriner
  3. ^ “chagrin” in OED Online, Oxford University Press, 1989.




From chagriner, perhaps from Frankish gram, akin to German Gram[1]



chagrin m (plural chagrins)

  1. sorrow, grief, chagrin


chagrin m (feminine chagrine, masculine plural chagrins, feminine plural chagrines)

  1. (literary) despondent, woeful
  2. (literary) disgruntled, morose

Related terms[edit]


  1. ^ chagrin” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).

External links[edit]