May 29, 2012
chagrin (noun)
\shuh-GRIN\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a feeling of being annoyed by failure or disappointment
How do you use it?
"Holmes had taken out his watch, and as minute followed minute without result, an expression of the utmost chagrin and disappointment appeared upon his features." (Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet)
Are you a word wiz?

English speakers borrowed "chagrin" from another language. What language do you think gave us "chagrin"?

Show us your grin, not your chagrin, if you picked C, French. In French, "chagrin" means "sad," or, as a noun, "grief." "Chagrin" supposedly comes from "chat," meaning "cat," plus "grigner," an obsolete French word referring to the grinding of teeth. It is possible that the origin of "chagrin" might be connected to the mournful noises of a cat in distress and to the anxiety expressed by teeth-grinding. For now, though, this is just speculation. What we do know is that English speakers borrowed "chagrin" from French in the late 17th century.
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