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chagrin in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911 has the following definition, which I like:

  1. Mental disquiet and pain from the failure of aims or plans, want of appreciation, mistakes etc.; mortification; vexation.

chagrin in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913 has:

  1. Vexation; mortification.

The definition from Century 1911 is similar to the one currently found in M-W online[1]. All three mentioned dictionaries--Century 1911, Webster 1913, and M-W online--have only one sense. --Dan Polansky 19:16, 8 May 2009 (UTC)


An alternative etymology from Century 1911:

From Fr. chagrin (grief, sorrow, formerly vexation, melancholy), probably a metaphorical use of chagrin (a kind of roughened leather), sometimes used (it is supposed) for rasping wood, and hence taken as a type of corroding care.

--Dan Polansky 19:42, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

I added a third one, the version proposed by French linguistics. Anyway it is exhilarating to derive chagrin from grin, is it not? The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 19:53, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

I added this, & it was removed by SemperBlotto , so I drop it here since it may be useful[edit]

  • the chagrin (in english shagreen) is also (in the tawing branch of trade) a kind of rugose skin, from oriental goat (or donkey, or horse as ersatz), or shark, used for luxury upholstering, book-binding, and even luxury furniture. The shark shagreen is also used to polish ivory or wood trinkets. Benoite Groult in his books writes several times about her father, a famous cabinet-maker, working between the 1st and 2cd World Wars on cabinets made of marquetry and peau de chagrin. Honoré de Balzac wrote a novel : "La peau de chagrin" , in which a magic shagreen-skin shrinks down every time its owner makes a vow, until it disappears and the owner dies... Hence the french expression : "rétrécir comme peau de chagrin" ("to shrink down as a shagreen skin"). For instance : "Avec la crise économique, ses gains ont rétréci comme peau de chagrin" ("Owing to the economic crisis, his earnings shrinked down like a shagreen skin"). As maroquin (a kind of fine leather) comes from Maroc, maybe chagrin (the leather) comes from some arab word ?...
  • some other often quoted phrases :

- "Le chagrin monte en croupe, et galope avec lui" ("The chagrin gets up behind him, and gallops along with him") , from Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux , V° Epître.

- "Araignée du matin : chagrin" ("Morning spider : chagrin") often say children and house-wives, stomping onto the unlucky arthropod . While encountered later, the saying would have been "Araignée du soir : espoir" ("Evening spider : hope") , which oftern saves its life...

- this horse (or dog, or whatever pet...) est une bête à chagrin ( i.e. : "it is always ailing, never in good shape, costs us a lot, and we'd better get rid of it..."). Which brings us to :

- "De chevaux, de faucons, de femmes et de chiens - Pour un plaisir, mille chagrins..." ( by Gaston de Foix ??))

Some more news about "shagreen". The "Webster's 3d New International Dictionary" says "the word comes from the french chagrin , itself from turc çagrin" . It is obtained by pressing small seeds into the hairy side of the fresh hide, rubbing away the small dents when dry, then wetting it to make the small potches swell, and dying it (usually in bright green) . Well... Arapaima 15:37, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Arapaima 07:33, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

This latest novel theory is outrageous, because the first active contacts between France and the Ottoman Empire began during the reign of the Turkophile Louis XIV, 17th century, whereas the Frankish theories (both of them - gram/the prædecessor of grigner trace the word back to its Germanic root) give a satisfactory explanation up to the 5-6th centuries AD. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 19:06, 14 August 2009 (UTC)