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[ shuh-grin ] [ ʃəˈgrɪn ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


a feeling of vexation, marked by disappointment or humiliation.

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More about chagrin

The story of chagrin “a feeling of vexation” is a rather mysterious one, and the linguistic community is at odds over the word’s origin. One proposal is that chagrin comes from obsolete dialectal French chagraigner or chagreiner “to distress, sadden,” perhaps from Old French graim “sorrowful,” which is related to German Gram “sadness,” combined with Old French chat “cat,” a common metaphorical element in terms related to distress. The other major hypothesis is that chagrin is the same as the French homonym chagrin “rough skin, shagreen,” a variant of sagrin, from Turkish sağrι “rump of a horse.” Chagrin was first recorded in English in the 1650s.

how is chagrin used?

If you’ve wondered why the blizzard dumping snow on the Northeast has a name, look no further than The Weather Channel. At the start of this storm season, the 24-hour-weather network announced, much to the chagrin of The National Weather Service, that it would give names to winter storms.

Elise Hu, “The Blizzard 'Nemo' Highlights The Hype Cycle Of Storms,” NPR, May 21, 2022

He knew keenly Lillian would feel the disgrace, and feared that her shame and chagrin might be so great that she would never write him or look him in the face again. What could he do to lessen the great embarrassment that he knew she must feel.

Otis M. Shackleford, Lillian Simmons; Or, The Conflict of Sections, 1915
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[ lit-i-geyt ] [ ˈlɪt ɪˌgeɪt ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used without object)

to carry on a lawsuit.

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More about litigate

Litigate “to carry on a lawsuit” is based on Latin lītigātus “having gone to law,” the past participle of lītigāre “to go to law.” The verb lītigāre is a compound of two other Latin words: līs (stem līt-) “lawsuit” and agere (stem -ig-) “to do, drive, carry on.” As we learned from the recent Words of the Day fustigate and disambiguate, agere is a rather productive verb with several stems: the present stem ag- appears in agenda, agent, and agile; the reduced stem -ig- is also found in castigate and navigate; and the perfect stem act- is found in action, activity, and exact. Litigate was first recorded in English circa 1610.

how is litigate used?

Tribal nations are forced to litigate, protest, and educate U.S. and state officials on the terms of the treaties and agreements ratified and entered on these lands. The rule of law requires the U.S. as a treaty partner to fulfill its legal obligations and to enforce those obligations against its component state governments.

Angelique EagleWoman, “Tribal nation treaties are legally binding agreements with the U.S.,” Indian Country Today, November 5, 2021

Though Marshall continued to litigate civil rights cases, he was exhausted by the vehemence of states’ resistance to integration. Marshall and his colleagues fought battle after battle as states defied the new law of the land—closing entire public school systems, creating charter schools, and even rioting rather than allow Black students to attend alongside white ones.

Erin Blakemore, “How Thurgood Marshall became the first Black U.S. Supreme Court justice,” National Geographic, October 2, 2020
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[ pref-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee ] [ ˈprɛf əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


of, relating to, or of the nature of something introductory.

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More about prefatory

Prefatory “of or relating to something introductory” is based on the Latin noun praefātiō “a saying beforehand,” plus the adjective-forming suffix -ory. Praefātiō became Medieval Latin prēfātia and then became Middle French preface, which English has borrowed. In this way, prefatory and preface are doublets, two words in a language with the same origin but that took different pathways to get there—in this case, directly from Latin and by way of French, respectively. Latin praefātiō is a compound of prae “before,” which is the source of English pre-, and fārī “to speak,” which is the source of affable, fable, fate, and infant. Prefatory was first recorded in English circa 1670.

how is prefatory used?

Vladimir Nabokov believed that inspiration comes in phases. First, he wrote, there’s the “prefatory glow,” the feeling of “tickly well-being” that banishes all awareness of physical discomfort. The feeling does not yield its secret just yet, but a window has been opened and some wind has blown in.

David Brooks, “What Is Inspiration?” New York Times, April 15, 2016

“My question is more of a comment” is a prefatory refrain one comes to dread hearing. You steel yourself for the digressive, long-winded tirade, incoherent to the point of lunacy.

Calum Marsh, “The important questions: Why are audience Q&As so bad?” National Post, January 26, 2017
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