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chagrin

Printable Version Pronunciation: shê-grin Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: Annoyance caused by disappointment, irritation, fret, displeasure.

Notes: Today's word is a lexical orphan that may be used as a noun, verb, or adjective. The verb has a past participle, chagrined, which has the same meaning as the word used unadorned as an adjective, "experiencing irritation". To chagrin someone means to annoy them. Remember the [sh] sound in this word is still spelled the French way, CH.

In Play: This word is most often encountered in the phrase "(Much) to the chagrin of", such as: "Much to the chagrin of her sister, when Maureen was in Cleveland, Ohio, she did not visit Chagrin Falls, the home town of comedic actor Tim Conway." Here is how the verb is used: "Sally Forth was chagrined to find the loo in use when she needed it."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from an identical Old French word, chagrin, originally borrowed into English phonetically as shagreen "rough skin or hide". The shift of meaning from "rough skin" to "irritation" took place in French, but English spelled the latter notion as today's word. Some think chagrin is based on French dialectal chagraignier "grieve over, be gloomy", from Old French graim "sorrowful". The trail ends here, however. Some have suggested that graim was borrowed from Old High German gram "angry, fierce", but both these theories leave open the question, "Where did the cha come from?" (Lest we chagrin today's contributor, long-time friend Susan Ardith, let us now extend our gratitude for recommending today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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