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A frequentative form of swag (to sway), first attested in 1590, in A Midsummer Night's Dream III.i.79:[1]

  • PUCK: What hempen homespuns have we swaggering here?



swagger (third-person singular simple present swaggers, present participle swaggering, simple past and past participle swaggered)

  1. To walk with a swaying motion; hence, to walk and act in a pompous, consequential manner.
    • Beaconsfield
      a man who swaggers about London clubs
  2. To boast or brag noisily; to be ostentatiously proud or vainglorious; to bluster; to bully.
    • Collier
      To be great is not [] to swagger at our footmen.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Jonathan Swift to this entry?)

Derived terms[edit]



swagger (plural swaggers)

  1. Confidence, pride.
    • 2012 April 9, Mandeep Sanghera, “Tottenham 1 - 2 Norwich”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      After spending so much of the season looking upwards, the swashbuckling style and swagger of early season Spurs was replaced by uncertainty and frustration against a Norwich side who had the quality and verve to take advantage
  2. A bold or arrogant strut.
    • Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
      [The helmsman] steered with no end of a swagger while you were by; but if he lost sight of you, he became instantly the prey of an abject funk []
  3. A prideful boasting or bragging.
  4. (Australia, historical) Synonym of swagman


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


  1. ^ swagger” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2018.