The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday March 28th

Enough! Please turn your swag off

Fads come and go. As a kid, we had Furby, Pokémon cards and Beanie Babies. These fads were pretty cool for a while, but eventually, they lost their luster.

All fads follow the same basic life cycle. First, a select few know about the fad. As more people learn about the product, it inevitably becomes popular. Then, once the product has completely saturated the market, people start to get sick of seeing it everywhere.

Eventually, it becomes kind of embarrassing to be the only kid in class who still has a binder full of Pokémon cards. The fad is clearly over by now, but a couple of people still haven’t caught on yet.

The term “fad” extends beyond just material goods — it also applies to words. So I’m writing to ask for your help to end the use of the word “swagger.”

Let’s skip the part where a few stragglers haven’t realized the fad is over and just stop allowing the use of the word altogether.

I’m not sure when the fad began, but it has clearly saturated the verbal marketplace. The whole reason why the word “swagger” is appealing is because it is exclusive. Not everyone can have it or its meaning gets diluted.

The way people, most notably musical artists, carelessly throw around the word swagger today is like addressing everyone as “King.” The only reason it’s cool to be king is because no one else has that power.

Very few people have swagger. Michael Jordan had it. Muhammad Ali had it.

I do not have swagger, and most likely, you don’t either.

I did some research to find out just how overbearing swagger has become. After Googling “swagger,” I discovered a Web site called At, you can earn swagbucks by entering swagcodes to earn prizes from the swagstore or in the swagstakes.

Really? Swagger is not something you can buy, earn or win. You can’t turn it on (Soulja Boy). You can’t surf with it (Lil Wayne).

I’d like to end the “swagger” fad for two reasons. Personally, I’m just sick of hearing the word haphazardly thrown around. The notion that a Web site like exists should be a wake-up call. What’s next? Will Wheaties come out with a swagtastic cereal to give the average person an extra dose of swagger?

Additionally, I’d like to restore the meaning of swagger. The word “swagger” is not a bad word; it’s the people that use it who devalue its meaning. When used properly, swagger is a great noun.

In his prime, Jordan exuded swagger. At the end of a close game, everyone knew Jordan was going to make the last shot and there was nothing the opposing team could do about it.

But how exactly do you end a fad? I’d like to suggest a few synonyms that will return swagger’s integrity:

Arrogance: to describe the person who has all the confidence of a person with swagger but doesn’t back it up.

Braggadocio: a noun for bragging and much more fun to say.

So, the next time you hear someone incorrectly use swagger, whether it be on TV, or on the radio, please change the channel.


David Bierer is a junior business major from Charlotte. E-mail him at

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