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  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈswæɡ.ə/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈswæɡ.ɚ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æɡə(r)

Etymology 1[edit]

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.
  2. To boast or brag noisily; to be ostentatiously proud or vainglorious; to bluster; to bully.
    • 1698, Jeremy Collier, A Moral Essay upon Pride
      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 (countable and uncountable, 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.
    • 1899 February, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number M, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, [], OCLC 1042815524, part I:
      He 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, and would let that cripple of a steamboat get the upper hand of him in a minute.
  3. A prideful boasting or bragging.
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.


swagger (comparative more swagger, superlative most swagger)

  1. (slang, archaic) Fashionable; trendy.
    • 1899, Robert Barr, Jennie Baxter, Journalist
      It is to be a very swagger affair, with notables from every part of Europe, and they seem determined that no one connected with a newspaper shall be admitted.
    • 15 March, 1896, Ernest Rutherford, letter to Mary Newton
      Mrs J.J. [Thomson] looked very well and was dressed very swagger and made a very fine hostess.

Etymology 2[edit]


swagger (plural swaggers)

  1. (Australia, New Zealand, historical) Synonym of swagman
    • 2017, Fiona Farrell, Decline and Fall on Savage Street, →ISBN, page 66:
      She looked down in her half-dreaming state and thought they might be swaggers. There were lots of them that year, camped out on the riverbank netting for whitebait, then fanning out around the streets selling their catch door to door.


  1. ^ swagger” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.