- The definition of chagrin is a feeling of embarrassment caused by failure or disappointment.
An example of chagrin is feeling frustrated because you didn't complete a course paper in time.
Origin: French grief, sorrow, vexation, probably ; from Norman chagreiner, to become gloomy (said of the weather) ; from Old French graignier, to sorrow ; from graim, sorrowful ; from Frankish an unverified form gram
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Origin: French, possibly from dialectal French chagraigner, to distress, become gloomy, from Old French graim, sorrowful, gloomy, of Germanic origin.Word History: The ultimate etymology of the word chagrin, which comes directly to us from French, is considered uncertain by many etymologists. At one time chagrin was thought to be the same word as shagreen, “a leather or skin with a rough surface,” derived from French chagrin. The reasoning was that in French the word for this rough material, which was used to smooth and polish things, was extended to the notion of troubles that fret and annoy a person. It was later decided, however, that the sense “rough leather” and the sense “sorrow” each belonged to a different French word chagrin. Other etymologists have offered an alternative explanation, suggesting that the French word chagrin, “sorrow,” is a loan translation of the German word Katzenjammer, “a hangover from drinking.” A loan translation is a type of borrowing from another language in which the elements of a foreign word, as in Katzen, “cats,” and Jammer, “distress, seediness,” are assumed to be translated literally by corresponding elements in another language, in this case, chat, “cat,” and grigner, “to grimace.” The actual etymology is less colorful, with the word probably going back to a Germanic word, *gramī, meaning “sorrow, trouble.” Chagrin is first recorded in English in 1656 in the now obsolete sense “anxiety, melancholy.”