I have come across such sentences many times. And i do the last words' meaning too , but i don't get "to my's" meaning.

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    to -> towards -> contributing to. Hence the "much" in "much to my dismay". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 11 '15 at 18:49

I have had this problem too. It is kind of a weird construction. If you say,

She had gained five pounds over the winter, much to her chagrin/dismay/etc.

Which means

Because she had gained five pounds over the winter, she experienced chagrin/dismay/discomfort.

Another example,

To my surprise, he didn't come to my birthday party.

Which means

Because he didn't come to my birthday party, I was surprised.


I'm not astonished that sentence introductions such as

to my surprise/astonishment/delight/horror etc

may sound a bit foreign to some. Actually this is a Latin formula, called dativus finalis, describing the effect. Even students who learn Latin have to learn such formulas as something special.

Such literary sentence introductions are not infrequent, but a good term for these formulas is lacking. The Longman Dictionary DCE has these expressions in "to", no. 16 and explains "someone's reaction/or feeling to an event". So one might invent the term "dative of reaction".

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