from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The rough hide of a shark or ray, covered with numerous bony denticles and used as an abrasive and as leather.
  • n. An untanned leather with a granular surface that is often dyed green.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An untanned leather, often dyed green; originally made from horse skin, today mostly made from the skin of a shark or ray.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Made or covered with the leather called shagreen.
  • adj. Covered with rough scales or points like those on shagreen.
  • n. A kind of untanned leather prepared in Russia and the East, from the skins of horses, asses, and camels, and grained so as to be covered with small round granulations. This characteristic surface is produced by pressing small seeds into the grain or hair side when moist, and afterward, when dry, scraping off the roughness left between them, and then, by soaking, causing the portions of the skin which had been compressed or indented by the seeds to swell up into relief. It is used for covering small cases and boxes.
  • n. The skin of various small sharks and other fishes when having small, rough, bony scales. The dogfishes of the genus Scyllium furnish a large part of that used in the arts.
  • transitive v. To chagrin.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A kind of leather with a granular surface, prepared without tanning from the skin of the horse, ass, and camel, and sometimes the shark, sea-otter, and seal.
  • n. Specifically, the skin of a shark or some related selachian, which is roughened with calcified papillæ (placoid scales), making the surface harsh and rasping. See cut under scale, and compare sephen.
  • n. An imitation of genuine shagreen, made by passing raw hide in a moist state through rollers in contact with a roughened copper plate.
  • n. Chagrin. See chagrin.
  • Made of the leather called shagreen.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

French chagrin, sagrin, from Turkish sağri, crupper, leather.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1677, Anglicized form of chagrin, from French chagrin, from Turkish sağrı.


  • The form of the animal is preserved by an entire cartilaginous case, of about three inches in thickness, covered by a kind of shagreen skin, so amalgamated with the cartilage as not to be separated from it.

    The Illustrated London Reading Book

  • Tendons, or stout fish-skin such as shagreen, may also be used on the same principle.

    The Art of Travel Shifts and Contrivances Available in Wild Countries

  • I unclasped the shagreen case; the sergent-de-ville and the gendarme stole up and looked over my shoulder; the garçon drew near with round eyes; the little woman peeped across; the merchant, with tears streaming over his face, gazed as if it had been a loadstone; finally, I looked myself.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 03, No. 16, February, 1859

  • He wiped them carefully, put them into their shagreen case, and locked them in his bureau: -- that is to say, he left off wearing his spectacles.

    The International Monthly, Volume 2, No. 4, March, 1851

  • Leaning on a wall of mirrors that reflect the view, there are two more oversized mirrors, edged in shagreen, also known as dyed stingray skin.

    A Fashion Designer Gets a Global View

  • I want to live to excess! cries Balzac's hero, Raphael de Valentin, as he clutches the magic shagreen, or ass's skin, that will prolong his life of dissipation and pleasure, according to the antiquary who gives it to him.

    Decadent Writing Of the 19th Century

  • The silhouettes are classic, and the whimsy and personality come through the texture and color of the covering material from guava shagreen, miniature sequins and grey flannel, says the American-born designer, who previously held posts at Ralph Lauren and Old Navy.

    Blue Carreon: A Conversation With Handbag Designer Fiona Kotur

  • Martin Ramin for The Wall Street Journal 'Ruhlmann' by Florence Camard Rizzoli From the book 'Ruhlmann' by Florence Camard/Rizzoli Reuter table with shagreen and ivory marquetry From the book 'Ruhlmann' by Florence Camard/Rizzoli Collectionneur chest in black lacquer No designer has come to stand for the glamorous 1920s and '30s more definitively than Jacques Émile Ruhlmann, with his exquisite marquetry of ivory and rare woods, sumptuous textiles and gleaming metal accents.

    All Hands on Deco

  • A sculptural form and shagreen-esque texture make Boutique 9's Alfa pump anything but ordinary. $130 at www.

    Trend Report: Studio 54 is back in fashion

  • Each trunk is handcrafted to order in Paris, using any of 51 shades of crocodile, shagreen, and full-grain leather.

    Pinel et Pinel Trunks


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  • See also sephen.

    January 25, 2016

  • From the French word chagrin, but originally from a Turkish word shagri. Apparently, in French, chagrin, in the sense of "embarrassment" is a figurative use of the word, which means, originally, "untanned or rough leather".

    May 28, 2009

  • Clearing through my father's papers after he died, I found his photo folder. A real one, made of battered shagreen. In it was a picture of his long-dead brother; one of his father as a young man; one of his wife as a 13-year-old girl with her mother and sister. Pictures of the dead. Pictures of people who could not be seen in reality, ever again, kept private in his desk drawer.

    Michael Bywater in the Independent

    February 13, 2009

  • He had some scales on his body, which dropped off by degrees; but his skin was as hard and rough as shagreen.

    - Thomas Love Peacock, Nightmare Abbey, ch. 7

    September 3, 2008