Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What the SWAG?

If half of your real life is in the Internet, then I'm sure you've stumbled on this word before, 'swag'.

It is used by most teenagers who think they have found a word that finally makes them sound cool, and by douchy hipster adults.

But what does it actually mean?  Why do attention-seeking kids love to use this butchered word?

I've done my homework for you:

“Swag” is an internet slang term often found in comments, discussion forums and image macros used as a synonym for “swagger,” a type of style or presence that exudes confidence and is sometimes interpreted as arrogance.

 So that's why it's everywhere.  But where did it come from?

According to the Online Etymogoly Dictionary[1], the word “swag” originated sometime in the 1520s and meant “to move heavily or unsteadily.” It may have been a derivative of the verb “swing”, which originated from the word “sway”[2]around 1300, meaning “to go, glide, move.”
In modern context, “swag” may be used as a business lingo for promotional merchandise[4] but its popular online usage has been largely attributed to its root word “swagger,” which Merriam-Webster Dictionary[13] defines as:
1 : to conduct oneself in an arrogant or superciliously pompous manner; especially : to walk with an air of overbearing self-confidence

2 : Boast, brag
The earliest documented use of “swagger” can be found in the text of English poet William Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream[3] written sometime between 1590 and 1596.
What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here,
So near the cradle of the fairy queen?

Well what about that! Shakespeare used it first, of course.  Then rappers started using it, to you know, sound poetic about bitches and grills.

The word “swagger” saw a modern resurgence through its usage in hip hop lyrics, beginning with rapper Jay-Z’s song “All I Need” from his sixth studio album The Blue Print that was released on September 11th, 2001. Since then, the word has been frequently used in various hip hop songs as part of braggadocio-style rapping, which is characterized by self-bragging and boasting one’s own skills or prowess.

Then, literary geniuses just went crazy.

Over 1385 definition entries relating to the word “swag” have been submitted to Urban Dictionary, including notable derivatives like “swagalicious,” “swag juice” and “swagger jack.”

And the madness started.

See more on Know Your Meme

See more on Know Your Meme

Swag is actually not a bad word.  It's just used in most inappropriate situations.  Pirates have swag.  Their swag comes from their wooden leg.  'Coz they are fucking crippled.  That's it.  You don't take a huge dump and call it swag.  Why don't kids get that?

Even Urban Dictionary agrees with me.

So imagine my horror when I found this in an essay:

First it was LOLs, and OMGs.  Now fucking SWAG.

Damn you Internet.  You teach bad English words.

As you can see, I still have to give her credit for that. 'Coz I'm swag like that.

Source: Know Your Meme, Urban Dictionary

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