A frequentative form of swag (“to sway”), first attested in 1590, in A Midsummer Night's Dream III.i.79:
- PUCK: What hempen homespuns have we swaggering here?
swagger (third-person singular simple present swaggers, present participle swaggering, simple past and past participle swaggered)
- To behave (especially to walk or carry oneself) in a pompous, superior manner.
- 1845, B[enjamin] Disraeli, chapter XI, in Sybil; or The Two Nations. […], volume I, London: Henry Colburn, […], →OCLC, book II, page 235:
- He is a political humbug, the greatest of all humbugs; a man who swaggers about London clubs and consults solemnly about his influence, and in the country is a nonentity.
- To boast or brag noisily; to bluster; to bully.
- 1698, Jeremy Collier, A Moral Essay upon Pride:
- To be great is not […] to swagger at our footmen.
- 1724, Jonathan Swift, The Drapier’s Letters, Dublin and London, 1730, Letter 1, p. 14,
- For the common Soldier when he goes to the Market or Ale-house will offer this Money, and if it be refused, perhaps he will SWAGGER and HECTOR, and Threaten to Beat the BUTCHER or Ale-Wife, or take the Goods by Force, and throw them the bad HALF-PENCE.
- 2020, Matt Flegenheimer, “A President’s Positive Test and the Year That Won’t Let Up”, in The New York Times:
- “They say there’s something wrong with our president!” Mr. Trump swaggered at his indoor Tulsa rally in June, […]
- To walk with a swaying motion.
- 1959, Robert Lowell, “To Speak of Woe That Is in Marriage”, in Life Studies:
- It's the injustice… he is so unjust—
whiskey-blind, swaggering home at five.
to act in a pompous manner
to boast or brag noisily
to walk with a swaying motion
swagger (countable and uncountable, plural swaggers)
- Confidence, pride.
- 2012 April 9, Mandeep Sanghera, “Tottenham 1 - 2 Norwich”, in BBC Sport:
- After spending so much of the season looking upwards, the swashbuckling style and swagger of early season Spurs was replaced by uncertainty and frustration against a Norwich side who had the quality and verve to take advantage
- A bold or arrogant strut.
- 1899 February, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number M, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, […], →OCLC, part I:
- He steered with no end of a swagger while you were by; but if he lost sight of you, he became instantly the prey of an abject funk, and would let that cripple of a steamboat get the upper hand of him in a minute.
- A prideful boasting or bragging.
- 1968, Robert F. Kennedy, On the Mindless Menace of Violence:
- Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their lives on the shattered dreams of others.
bold or arrogant strut
prideful boasting or bragging
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
swagger (comparative more swagger, superlative most swagger)
- (slang, archaic) Fashionable; trendy.
- 1899, Robert Barr, Jennie Baxter, Journalist:
- It is to be a very swagger affair, with notables from every part of Europe, and they seem determined that no one connected with a newspaper shall be admitted.
- 15 March, 1896, Ernest Rutherford, letter to Mary Newton
- Mrs J.J. [Thomson] looked very well and was dressed very swagger and made a very fine hostess.
- 1908, Baroness Orczy, The Old Man in the Corner:
- Mrs. Morton was well known for her Americanisms, her swagger dinner parties, and beautiful Paris gowns.
swagger (plural swaggers)
- (Australia, New Zealand, historical) Synonym of swagman
- 2017, Fiona Farrell, Decline and Fall on Savage Street, →ISBN, page 66:
- She looked down in her half-dreaming state and thought they might be swaggers. There were lots of them that year, camped out on the riverbank netting for whitebait, then fanning out around the streets selling their catch door to door.
- ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “swagger”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.