[sheen-yon, sheen-yuhn; French shee-nyawn]

noun, plural chi·gnons [sheen-yonz, sheen-yuhnz; French shee-nyawn] /ˈʃin yɒnz, ʃinˈyʌnz; French ʃiˈnyɔ̃/.

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 formschi·gnoned, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for chignon

twist, bun, knot

Examples from the Web for chignon

Historical Examples of chignon

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

  • She was thinking abruptly, unhappily, about that chignon she had bought yesterday.

    Teething Ring

    James Causey

  • Dotty was giving an extra touch to her chignon, and Prudy trying on her cap.

  • Mrs. Tripp tossed her chignon and descended a step of the stairs.


    Bret Harte

  • Some deal in human hair, which is used by native females as a chignon.

British Dictionary definitions for chignon



an arrangement of long hair in a roll or knot at the back of the head
Derived Formschignoned, adjective

Word Origin for chignon

C18: from French, from Old French chaignon link, from chaine chain; 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

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