Chagrin is an emotion that is felt in response to a personal failure or disappointment, while dismay is an emotion that is typically felt in response to a negative event or situation.


When you feel chagrin, you might describe it as a “sinking feeling.” It’s the kind of disappointment you feel when something doesn’t go your way or the kind of feeling you might have after making a mistake in front of others. Chagrin is often accompanied by a sense of humiliation or embarrassment.

Chagrin is a feeling of embarrassment or shame if you’re not meeting your own expectations.


Dismay is a stronger word. It describes the feeling you have when you’re faced with something unpleasant or unexpected. Dismay is often accompanied by fear, anxiety, or even terror. It’s the kind of emotion you might feel in response to bad news, or if you’re facing a difficult situation.

How to use chagrin and dismay in a sentence

If you’re ever in a situation where you’re feeling both chagrin and dismay, it might be helpful to know how to use each word correctly. Chagrin is a noun that means “a feeling of embarrassment or shame.” So, if you did something that made you feel embarrassed or ashamed, you would likely experience chagrin. On the other hand, dismay is a verb that means “to cause to feel fear, horror, or distress.” So, if something happened that caused you to feel afraid or distressed, you would be dismayed.

Here are some examples of how you might use chagrin and dismay in a sentence:

I felt a pang of chagrin when I realized I had made a mistake.
I was dismayed by the news of the layoffs.

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