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[sheen-yon, sheen-yuhn; French shee-nyawn] /ˈʃin yɒn, ʃinˈyʌn; French ʃiˈnyɔ̃/
noun, plural chignons
[sheen-yonz, sheen-yuhnz; French shee-nyawn] /ˈʃin yɒnz, ʃinˈyʌnz; French ʃiˈnyɔ̃/ (Show IPA)
a large, smooth twist, roll, or knot of hair, worn by women at the nape of the neck or the back of the head.
Origin of chignon
1775-85; < French: nape, roll of hair at nape, blend of Middle French chaignon (variant of chainon link, equivalent to chaine chain + -on noun suffix) and tignon twist of hair (tigne (< Latin tinea worm) + -on noun suffix)
Related forms
chignoned, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for chignon
Historical Examples
  • I do not recollect ever having seen a chignon, but I know that it must look like that.

  • The hood resting on the edge of her chignon formed a kind of Phrygian cap.

  • When she beheld Nana, her nose bleeding and choking with sobs, she almost sprang at the concierge's chignon.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • She was thinking abruptly, unhappily, about that chignon she had bought yesterday.

    Teething Ring James Causey
  • Nothing could be found by the afflicted father, except a tress of his daughter's hair—perhaps her chignon.

    Buffalo Land W. E. Webb
  • Dotty was giving an extra touch to her chignon, and Prudy trying on her cap.

    Prudy Keeping House Sophie May
  • But a chignon, a bandbox behind the noddle,—she would not endure.

    He Knew He Was Right Anthony Trollope
  • Some deal in human hair, which is used by native females as a chignon.

  • Petticoat and chignon are male institutions in Ceylon, and time after time I had to look twice before I could fix the passers sex.

    Greater Britain Charles Wentworth Dilke
  • It is of about as much use to him as a chignon, and he knows as much what to do with it, for any other purpose.

    Science and Education Thomas H. Huxley
British Dictionary definitions for chignon


/ˈʃiːnjɒn; French ʃiɲɔ̃/
an arrangement of long hair in a roll or knot at the back of the head
Derived Forms
chignoned, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from French, from Old French chaignon link, from chainechain; influenced also by Old French tignon coil of hair, from tigne, moth, from Latin tinea moth
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for chignon

"knot or coil of hair worn at the back of the neck," from French chignon "nape of the neck," from Old French chaignon "iron collar, shackles, noose" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *catenionem (nominative *catenio), from Latin catena "chain, fetter, restraint" (see chain (n.)). Popular 1780s, 1870s, 1940s. Form influenced in French by tignon "coil of hair."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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