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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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: Verb Rosario Dawson swaggers into frame as a new character, Nevada; Luke Wilson is Albuquerque, fellow survivor and Tallahassee’s virtual doppelganger. Michael Phillips, Detroit Free Press, "‘Zombieland: Double Tap’: Not bad for a 10-years-later sequel!," 17 Oct. 2019 Many drivers today have not experienced the rewards of a big, swaggering sedan. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Kia K900: A crazy-rich VIP for the middle class," 6 Oct. 2019 The show’s signature recurring shot depicts the Shelby family swaggering in slow motion to anachronistic rock hits by Jack White and the Arctic Monkeys. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The American Sitcom Producer Gambling on British Television," 4 Oct. 2019 The latest obstacle to Johnson’s plans came in the form of yet another defeat in the House of Commons, where the once-swaggering prime minister has lost every key vote of his young premiership. BostonGlobe.com, "Tuesday was the second time in as many weeks that Johnson has asked for Parliament to allow a fresh election, only to be rebuffed by a unified opposition.," 10 Sep. 2019 On the Brighton stage, graduates danced and ran and swaggered. BostonGlobe.com, "ada Pierre is tiny, her ambition drawn taut as a bowstring. The 16-year-old daughter of Haitian immigrants wears her hair in a small bun atop her head, her emerging political consciousness finding its voice in the bevy of Black Lives Matter and #MeToo stickers she’s pasted to her MacBook.," 15 Sep. 2019 Stephanie Horton stars as tempestuous Kate, opposite Christopher Scott as swaggering Petruchio. Don Maines, Houston Chronicle, "Dobie presents Shakespeare — Wild West style," 4 Sep. 2019 There’s something about plaid pants — collegiate yet cool, nerdy yet swaggering, prim yet slightly punky. Sharon Graubard, courant.com, "Fashion report: Cool classics for fall," 15 Aug. 2019 Mr Taylor, a swaggering former navy SEAL with an incandescent smile, was swept from office in 2018 after a single term by an anti-Trump tsunami. J.s. | Richmond, The Economist, "Senator Mark Warner of Virginia appears to be heading for a third term," 1 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Just as important, perhaps, the blast gave Bregman, Houston’s cleanup hitter, some of his missing swagger back. David Waldstein, New York Times, "How the Astros Won Game 4 of the World Series," 26 Oct. 2019 As fast as Kyler Murray scrambled to the sideline, the Cardinals' offensive line finally has its swagger back. Bob Mcmanaman, azcentral, "Cardinals' improved offensive line play has Arizona in position for third consecutive win," 19 Oct. 2019 Years after getting some of their swagger from a coach, the 49ers could be getting a big dose from a kid who refuses to be disrespected or become satisfied. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "49ers’ Nick Bosa brings bravado reminiscent of Jim Harbaugh," 8 Oct. 2019 Even his last few Florida State teams had lost their swagger, often getting dominated in the trenches. Los Angeles Times, "Ranking the college football coaching class of 2018: the good, the bad and the ugly," 7 Oct. 2019 For all their swagger, the newer tunes retain such traditional elements as circular riffs and call-and-response vocals. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "Mdou Moctar lets his fingers do the talking during Black Cat show," 8 Sep. 2019 Perhaps that’s why Karey Burke, ABC’s president of entertainment, came out with some actual swagger during a Q&A session with the Television Critics Association in August. Washington Post, "Don’t count the old networks out yet. Their fall shows aren’t bad, and their potential audience is huge.," 13 Sep. 2019 Saturday’s early birds were gifted a breakneck performance from Gerry Gonza, a young producer and vocalist who dominated the decks and the mic with an old soul swagger. Megan Venzin, Billboard, "The Nine Best Moments of Electric Zoo 2019 Featuring Kaskade, Alison Wonderland, Dog Blood & More," 3 Sep. 2019 Salazar calls his menu an elevated approach to style of dining that bridges Mediterranean inspiration with Houston swagger. Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "Warehouse 72, Spaghetti Warehouse’s upscale sibling, to open Aug. 1 in Houston," 9 July 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.

See More

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about swagger

Statistics for swagger

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for swagger

The first known use of swagger was circa 1596

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on swagger

What made you want to look up swagger? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


strength of mind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!