Hey you! Swag up for goodness sake…

I had an interesting conversation with some students about a Justin Bieber song the other day.  The phrase ‘swag on you’ came up and I looked blank – I had no idea what they were talking about.  I only knew swag as something to do with festoons of fabric or bags of stolen money, which of course I mentioned – they laughed.  A lot.  So, to avoid further hilarity, I looked it up on the class computer so we could continue the discussion. This is Urban Dictionary:

The way in which you carry yourself. Swag is made up of your overall confidence, style, and demeanour. Swag can also be expanded to be the reputation of your overall swagger. You gain swag, or “Swag up”, by performing swag worthy actions that improve this perception. A person can also “swag down,” by being an overall idiot and garnering negative swag for their actions. Swag is a subtle thing that many strive to gain but few actually attain. It is reserved for the most ‘swagalicious’ [Me: Oh god!] of people. Swag can also be quantified, with point systems existing in some circles of friends.

I felt slightly sick on reading this but it got me thinking. Did I use something like this when I was young?  I tried to think of the buzz words of my youth but apart from ‘magic’ instead of today’s ‘cool’ nothing came to mind.  If you were a teenager in the 1970’s can you remember whether we had an equivalent to ‘swag’ or anything else remotely interesting which I can throw back at my lovely students when I next see them?

I’m off to practice ‘swagging up’!


Categories: Just Plain Blog

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2 replies

  1. This is so interesting, but before today I hadn’t heard the term, and yet earlier heard a radio interview where this was the actual discussion! Lisa Bloom (attorney/author) wrote a book about how American teen males use this word and equate swag with self-confidence…and yet are failing academically and otherwise. The big conversation was that current music trends are reinforcing this false confidence. I won’t go into it more here, but I just thought it was interesting that this is apparently my “new word’ for the day. And yours, too, apparently! I can’t think of another word that comes from my past anyway, but won’t I have fun pulling this into my vocabulary. And I must say that there’s nothing more fun for students than to laugh at their teachers, so you’re a great sport 🙂 Debra

    • Thanks for commenting Debra. Interesting to hear about the Lisa Bloom stuff… Someone (near my age of course) suggested ‘street cred’ as an equivalent. I haven’t managed to think of anything else!

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