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

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

: to force by argument or threat : bully
swaggerer noun
swaggeringly adverb


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plural swaggers
: an arrogantly self-confident way of walking : an act or instance of swaggering
: arrogant or conceitedly self-assured behavior
: ostentatious display or bravado
: 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


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: marked by elegance or showiness : posh

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
She’s returned for the film version, and from the moment her Regina swaggers into the school lunchroom, the actor owns this film. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 10 Jan. 2024 Progressed from loafing here and there with scant dollars in my pocket, to swaggering to and fro with a bankroll swelling my sock. Mitchell S. Jackson, New York Times, 20 Dec. 2023 These now seem to represent the defining traits of American lawmakers who swagger and shout with little concern for the dangerous consequences their actions set in motion. Jason Parham, WIRED, 1 Dec. 2023 With an A-list of guest vocalists, including James Murphy, The Edge, Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie and Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock, to befit Tolhurst and Budgie’s reputation, the album swaggers between industrial, post-punk, and glam rock with a confidence that did not come easily. Max Pilley, SPIN, 18 Oct. 2023 Tampa Bay allowed more than 300 passing yards in Week 1 against the Vikings, but may be swaggering behind the better-than-expected performance of quarterback Baker Mayfield. Emmanuel Morgan, New York Times, 14 Sep. 2023 Cycling through a series of high boots, Beyoncé vogued and vamped, swaggered and stampeded. Bob Gendron, Chicago Tribune, 23 July 2023 James Burke, the swaggering police chief who had been running the department since 2012, was arrested in 2015 and later convicted on federal civil rights and obstruction of justice charges. Joseph Goldstein Johnny Milano, New York Times, 20 July 2023 Stein brought Talking Heads, a cerebral CBGBs cohort of the Ramones, to Sire in 1976, then expanded the label’s roster with Chrissie Hynde’s swaggering Pretenders and the noir-ish vistas of U.K. post-punk outfit Echo & the Bunnymen. Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Los Angeles Times, 2 Apr. 2023
The Vikings gave up seven rushing touchdowns – six to Alvin Kamara – and the team didn’t recover its defensive swagger until this season. Steve Silverman, Forbes, 17 Feb. 2024 Hubris is said to come before the fall, and the swagger with which Mark Zuckerberg dunked on Apple’s $3,500 Vision Pro this week is giving critics an acute case of déjà vu. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 15 Feb. 2024 Unabashed patriot Sometimes a polarizing figure in country music, the 6-foot-4 Keith broke out in the country boom years of the 1990s, crafting an identity around his macho, pro-American swagger and writing songs that fans loved to hear. CBS News, 6 Feb. 2024 Having blown out Chaminade and St. Francis by 30-point margins on Wednesday and Friday and handled a gritty Foothill squad Saturday, the Wolverines suddenly have their swagger back and that could spell trouble for future foes. Steve Galluzzo, Los Angeles Times, 28 Jan. 2024 The Gamecocks came into Walton Arena and stole whatever swagger the Razorbacks had regained while simultaneously sucking the life out of a home crowd that seemed anxious to get into the game but never had the chance. Bob Holt, arkansasonline.com, 21 Jan. 2024 Though Keith always carried himself with a brash swagger, his pivot to fearmongering was somewhat startling for an artist whose prior work had not only been fairly apolitical, but even sensitive and tender. Nadine Smith, Rolling Stone, 6 Feb. 2024 With so many fun and colorful products, there are no excuses to deprive your pets of a little swagger. Elaine Markoutsas, Kansas City Star, 30 Jan. 2024 Taylor Swift—a woman who’s been known to enter and exit venues secreted in a janitor cart—is cruising into Highmark Stadium with all the swagger of Caesar entering Rome to watch Travis Kelce make heart hands, while Doja Cat remains at least 350% less tameable than Miley Cyrus circa 2010. Hayley Maitland, Vogue, 24 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'swagger.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb, Noun, and Adjective

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

First Known Use


circa 1596, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1725, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1879, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of swagger was circa 1596

Dictionary Entries Near swagger

Cite this Entry

“Swagger.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swagger. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
swag·​ger ˈswag-ər How to pronounce swagger (audio)
swaggered; swaggering -(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce swagger (audio)
: to behave in a very proud manner
especially : to walk with a proud strut
swaggerer noun
swaggeringly adverb


2 of 2 noun
: an act or instance of swaggering

More from Merriam-Webster on swagger

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