The origins of this word, which is used to convey a sense of aggravation, sheepishness, or displeasure, are widely disputed. Some etymologists believe that it comes from a rough leather of the same name (English “shagreen”), while others say it comes from a French translation of the German word for hangover—Katzenjammer. Most likely, though, it comes from the Germanic word “grami,” meaning “sorrow” or “trouble,” as the earliest English usage was for “anxiety” and “sadness.” Nowadays the word is used in English to signify slight disappointment, tinged with irritation.

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