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 Our Typhoon swaggered into sylvan Ann Arbor dressed in inky, Texas-tea black. Arthur St. Antoine, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1992 GMC Typhoon," 19 May 2020 Instead, Extraction mostly delivers what its swaggering trailer promises: international scenery; insidious villains; a taciturn, tree-trunk Aussie. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "Chris Hemsworth brings in the pain in blunt Netflix thriller Extraction: Review," 22 Apr. 2020 The buck stopped, stared, detected no threat and turned and swaggered away. Michael Hanback, Outdoor Life, "7 Deer Hunting Tactics You’ve Never Tried Before But Should," 16 Oct. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Donald Trump’s performance stuttered, as did his post-impeachment swagger. John A. Farrell, The New Republic, "TNR Newsletters. Must reads. 5 days a week.," 16 Apr. 2020 This year’s Wildcats have a different kind of swagger to them. John Marshall, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Arizona holds on to beat UCLA 20-17 behind Gunnell," 28 Sep. 2019 The improved chemistry has New Orleans playing with a ton of swagger heading into its regular-season finale against the San Antonio Spurs (47-34) Wednesday night. William Guillory, NOLA.com, "Pelicans' rotation falling into place as playoffs approach," 10 Apr. 2018 Once crushed and baked, those fiery nuggets of corny bliss give catfish fillets a generous dose of San Antonio swagger, and then we up the cheese factor of those crispy fillets with classic Ro-Tel and Velveeta queso. Paul Stephen, ExpressNews.com, "4 fish fry recipes for Lent without the fryer," 26 Feb. 2020 Handley continually jumped to the front of the line in 1-on-1s, showing the kind of swagger and confidence needed to play cornerback. Josh Bean | Jbean@al.com, al, "5 takeaways from HS recruiting combine in Hoover," 17 Feb. 2020 To his legions of admirers, Mike Hoare was a paragon of swagger and derring-do, a poetry-reading soldier of fortune who led an army of white mercenaries in Congo, freed missionaries from certain death and beat back a growing communist threat. Washington Post, "‘Mad Mike’ Hoare, mercenary in Congo who later led a failed coup, dies at 100," 6 Feb. 2020 Undoubtedly some of the old swagger that made him a transcendent star will return, and that’s fine. Dave Doyle, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Conor McGregor has options again after stirring win over Donald Cerrone," 19 Jan. 2020 There are still elements of the Trump who is president now ... the kind of swagger even in those early appearances. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Cable TV, Donald Trump's presidency unquestionably tied together: Author explains how," 10 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

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Swagger.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swagger. Accessed 2 Jun. 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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