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

Other Words from swagger


swaggerer \ ˈswa-​gər-​ər How to pronounce swagger (audio) \ noun
swaggeringly \ ˈswa-​g(ə-​)riŋ-​lē How to pronounce swagger (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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Western bird is famous for a mating dance in which males puff out their chests and swagger around breeding grounds called leks. Los Angeles Times, 23 Aug. 2022 So cocksure are they, even their hair seems to swagger. San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 May 2022 The seventh-seeded Knights earned some right to swagger into this game with a 69-52 victory over Florida on Saturday, the program’s first win over the Gators after 26 losses. Dom Amore, courant.com, 20 Mar. 2022 One shot after another, one opportunity after another exploited, the Bears looked like the team most expected to swagger through Dickies Arena and advance. New York Times, 19 Mar. 2022 No politician in history, though, has managed to swagger through an entire term in office. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 8 Jan. 2022 One team is going to swagger out of the three-game Bay Bridge Series in Oakland, and the other team is going to stagger out of it. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Aug. 2021 Bo Nix had every reason to swagger into his freshman season at Auburn. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, 14 Sep. 2020 Their bodies firm up and swagger into a ritualistic circle of savagery. Michelle Weber, Longreads, 10 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The event echoed the pomp and swagger that accompanied Crimea’s annexation eight years ago. Alan Cullison, WSJ, 30 Sep. 2022 Few cars from the Classic Era (1925 through 1948) have the panache and swagger of this Cadillac V-16 Sport Phaeton. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 26 Sep. 2022 The perpetually conservative coach showed some swagger on his team’s opening drive in going for it on fourth and one at the UCLA 41-yard line. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 24 Sep. 2022 Justin Abit is a debonair drag king and a show-stopping heartbreaker with some sizable swagger under his belt. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, 22 Sep. 2022 Hopper’s dry delivery, swagger and good looks charm and disarm. Courtney Howard, Variety, 1 Sep. 2022 But if Graham can put so much swagger behind such a rancid policy, Democrats should feel similarly emboldened to walk with confidence behind their own set of much more popular ideas. Jason Linkins, The New Republic, 17 Sep. 2022 With Wolfe-ian scope and Franzen-y swagger, De Silva’s second novel aspires to be an epic commentary on 21st century life. Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2022 Some dogs arrive for snake training with a swagger, like a pit-bull mix named Newton who was Mr. Jim Carlton, WSJ, 16 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near swagger



swagger stick

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Statistics for swagger

Last Updated

27 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Swagger.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swagger. Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for swagger


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

More from Merriam-Webster on swagger

Nglish: Translation of swagger for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swagger for Arabic Speakers


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