Word of the Day


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to walk in a proud and confident way

Origin and usage

The word swagger is likely a form of the verb ‘swag’, an English verb from the 1500s meaning ‘to lurch or sway’. Swagger first appeared in Shakespeare’s plays including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and King Lear. Use of the word to describe a way of walking dates to the 1580s, its use meaning ‘to brag or boast’ is from the 1590s, and the use of swagger as a noun used to describe a high level of confidence is from 1725.


Swagger refers to a way of walking that projects extreme confidence. In this way, swagger can also be used to describe the kind of arrogance or extreme pride with which a person conducts himself or herself.

Believe it or not, walking with swagger can reveal certain clues about personality. Recent research suggests that people who walk with swagger or exaggerated movement in both their shoulders and lower body may be more aggressive than people with a more subdued walk. People with swagger in their hips tend to be agreeable, open and friendly. Those who walk with hardly any swagger or movement overall are usually creative and well-organized.

According to researchers, their hope is that further study of the relationship between swagger, gait and aggressive behaviour might someday help law enforcement officials prevent some types of crime. Police could be trained to recognize an aggressive swagger, which might help them better recognize criminal intent.


“You know I need that cockiness, the self-belief, arrogance, swagger, whatever you want to call it, I need that on the golf course to bring the best out of myself. So you know once I leave the golf course, you know that all gets left there.”
(Rory McIlroy)

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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