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A shagreen-covered box.


1677, Anglicized form of chagrin, from French chagrin, from Ottoman Turkish صاغری‎ (modern Turkish sağrı).[1][2][3]

However, the etymology of French chagrin is complex and disputed, likely of Germanic origin – whether there was any influence between an existing French word of Germanic origin and a Turkish loan is unclear.



shagreen (countable and uncountable, plural shagreens)

  1. An untanned leather, often dyed green; originally made from horse skin, today mostly made from the skin of a shark or ray.
    • 1832, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Heath's Book of Beauty, 1833, The Talisman, page 80:
      The following day the treasures of the mysterious tower came pouring in: pictures, statues, gems, shells, china, stuffed beasts and birds, tables, vases, petrifactions, arms, mandarins, &c. &c.; and among them the shagreen skin, with the injunction, "Sell it for any thing—nothing—give it away; only, get rid of it."
    • August 1935, Clark Ashton Smith, Weird Tales, "The Treader of the Dust":
      On the old lecturn or reading-stand which he used for his heavier tomes, The Testaments of Carnamagos, in its covers of shagreen with hasps of human bone, lay open at the very page which had frightened him so unreasonably with its eldritch intimations.
  2. (entomology) A rough or spiny surface of an insect's cuticle.
    • 1883 November 7, Edward B. Poulton, “Notes upon, or suggested hy, the colours, markings, and protective attitudes of certain lepidopterous larvæ and pupæ, and of a phytophagous hymenopterous larva”, in Transactions of the Entomological Society of London:
      If the shagreen dots be carefully observed they will be found to possess an annular arrangement.
    • 1985, “The Immature Chironomids of the Eastern United States VI. Pentaneurini-Genus Ablabesmyia”, in Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, volume 137, number 2, →JSTOR, pages 153–212:
      The shagreen of the abdominal tergites generally consists of small spinules, singly or in caudally convex arcs.


See also[edit]


shagreen (third-person singular simple present shagreens, present participle shagreening, simple past and past participle shagreened)

  1. (transitive) To give a texture resembling shagreen leather.


  1. ^ "shagreen." The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2008.
  2. ^ shagreen”, in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1996–present.
  3. ^ Webster's New World College Dictionary 2010