swag·​ger | \ ˈswa-gər How to pronounce swagger (audio) \
swaggered; swaggering\ ˈswa-​g(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce swaggering (audio) \

Definition of swagger

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to conduct oneself in an arrogant or superciliously pompous manner especially : to walk with an air of overbearing self-confidence
2 : boast, brag

transitive verb

: to force by argument or threat : bully


plural swaggers

Definition of swagger (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : an arrogantly self-confident way of walking : an act or instance of swaggering
b : arrogant or conceitedly self-assured behavior
c : ostentatious display or bravado
2 : bold or brash self-confidence "Taxi" opens with an argument over capital punishment between a progressive female teacher and a condescending loudmouth who's all macho swagger.— Sheri Linden Thierry has the swagger of a man who blew off conventional wisdom and turned out just fine.— Ben O'Donnell



Definition of swagger (Entry 3 of 3)

: marked by elegance or showiness : posh

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Other Words from swagger


swaggerer \ ˈswa-​gər-​ər How to pronounce swaggerer (audio) \ noun
swaggeringly \ ˈswa-​g(ə-​)riŋ-​lē How to pronounce swaggeringly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for swagger

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of swagger in a Sentence

Verb He copped a plea, ratted out a dozen no-neck pals and swaggered off to prison, leaving South Beach temporarily without a pied piper. — Carl Hiaasen, New York Times Book Review, 22 Feb. 2009 So it is a fight rather than an argument, really—a fight over complexity versus ease, a fight that mostly mimics gang war, which is not so much a vigorous instance of manly bloodletting (though it is that too) as a dustup over prestige: who has the prior right to swagger in public. — Cynthia Ozick, Harper's, April 2007 Sometimes he sauntered through the streets of the old town. He looked with awe at the students of the corps, their cheeks gashed and red, who swaggered about in their coloured caps. — W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage, 1915 I, too, would swagger if I'd won first place in the bowling tournament. hoping to impress the women at the bar, the young man confidently swaggered across the room Noun He limps with a noticeable swagger, flamboyantly waving his cane, semi-ironically mimicking the rap stars who are now his peers. — Matt Diehl, Spin, September 2008 He greeted me with the swagger he's learned since he became a fighter pilot, smiling, his blue eyes glowing. — Matthew Klam, Harper's, February 1999 What a hero Tom was become, now! He did not go skipping and prancing, but moved with a dignified swagger as became a pirate who felt that the public eye was on him. — Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, 1876 He has a swagger that annoys some of his teammates.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some weren’t literal masks: A racist swaggered around as a charming senator, while a narcissist with a god complex dressed herself up as an eccentric philanthropist. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "Watchmen Gives Its Heroes a True Ending," 16 Dec. 2019 Military officials swaggered, their lapels dripping with bling. Los Angeles Times, "On eve of China’s 70th anniversary parade, President Xi says nation leads the world," 30 Sep. 2019 For example, Democratic luminary Douglas swaggers through the book as a principal, and strikingly familiar, villain. Gary W. Gallagher, Washington Post, "How Lincoln triumphed amid division and demagogues," 26 Sep. 2019 In the new China where Mr Zhang spends most of his days—a swaggering country rushing to become a high-tech superpower—the 31-year-old is a model citizen. The Economist, "China’s discriminatory hukou system plagues white-collar workers, too," 12 Dec. 2019 Suddenly the women in suits and ties entered with such crisp, swaggering authority that all conversations ended and the audience snapped to attention. Washington Post, "Cheap wine and cheese puffs are only the beginning of this ‘Happy Hour’," 22 Nov. 2019 With a swaggering Ed Orgeron leading the way, LSU loudly announced to the college football world this team is different. John Talty | Jtalty@al.com, al, "Swaggering LSU claims ‘new day’ in SEC, ownership of Bryant-Denny," 10 Nov. 2019 Reynolds, 57, a swaggering former biotech executive who spoke at a TEDxBoston talk in 2010 and was named a fellow at the prestigious MIT Sloan School of Management in 2005, never took the stand in the 14-day jury trial. BostonGlobe.com, "Francis Reynolds, the founder of a Medford biotech who said he entered the field after overcoming an injury that supposedly left him paralyzed, was convicted Monday of defrauding investors of about $12.7 million.," 29 Oct. 2019 Iacocca was an ambitious immigrant's son and salesman extraordinaire whose blunt and swaggering persona dominated the automobile industry like nobody since Henry Ford. Julia Wick, latimes.com, "Essential California: The ice cream truck vs. the influencers," 3 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The actor wears his fedora at a determinedly rakish tilt, but his swagger (and his intermittent Southern drawl) are more playacting than performance. Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, "His Dark Materials is definitely a better TV show than a movie," 16 Oct. 2019 Quick with a double entendre fitting of Mae West and equipped with an apparent army of interns, Morgan has secured a legacy in the annals of reality TV for her unwavering, sultry swagger. Garrett Mitchell, azcentral, "'Real Housewives' star Sonja Morgan on Bethenny Frankel's exit, friendship and #Ramonja," 17 Jan. 2020 His big-city swagger and progressive ideas don’t set well with everyone. Allie Morris, ExpressNews.com, "New Fox TV drama ‘9-1-1: Lone Star’ reflects the culture, diversity of Austin," 15 Jan. 2020 Erring on the casual side and pumping it up with your swagger, that to me feels really cool. Brooke Mazurek, Billboard, "Going To The Grammys? Harry Styles and Maggie Rogers' Stylists Share Wardrobe Tips," 6 Dec. 2019 Miami’s in-your-face swagger was a cultural flashpoint beyond football. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Dabo Swinney obscuring how great this Clemson run has been with his rants," 11 Jan. 2020 Translating Nietzsche is a difficult task, but the swagger of his prose, with its pithy strikes and sudden swerves, can be fairly readily approximated in English. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Nietzsche’s Eternal Return," 7 Oct. 2019 There is an extra edge of farmyard piquancy to these cheeses made from the milk of sheep, which flourish in harsher terrains, that has a way of cutting through sauces with an alluring rustic swagger. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "Cheese of the Month: In praise of Pecorino Romano, a sheep's milk cheese with swagger," 19 Feb. 2018 Both handled their moments with swagger and grace, with Porter quoting James Baldwin and Jerome shouting out the subjects of his miniseries, the Central Park Five. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "The Best and Worst Moments of the 2019 Emmys," 23 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'swagger.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of swagger


circa 1596, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1725, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1879, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for swagger

Verb, Noun, and Adjective

probably from swag entry 1 + -er (as in chatter)

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Time Traveler for swagger

Time Traveler

The first known use of swagger was circa 1596

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Statistics for swagger

Last Updated

23 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Swagger.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swagger. Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for swagger


How to pronounce swagger (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of swagger

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to walk in a very confident way : to walk with a swagger



English Language Learners Definition of swagger (Entry 2 of 2)

: a way of walking or behaving that shows you have a lot of confidence


swag·​ger | \ ˈswa-gər How to pronounce swagger (audio) \
swaggered; swaggering

Kids Definition of swagger

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to walk with a proud strut



Kids Definition of swagger (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or instance of walking with a proud strut

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More from Merriam-Webster on swagger

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swagger

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with swagger

Spanish Central: Translation of swagger

Nglish: Translation of swagger for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swagger for Arabic Speakers

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