[Ads-l] swag or s-w-a-g?

David Daniel dad at COARSECOURSES.COM
Tue Nov 13 11:18:42 EST 2018

I've just been reading on Dictionary.com that "swag," in the sense of free
stuff you get at an event, is an internet acronym for "stuff we all get."
Now, I'm willing to believe that as a pop-etymology backronym, but surely
the origin is in the pirate meaning of "loot." In fact, we used to call free
stuff we got at an event "loot," (also Halloween candy and the like) which,
it happens, has also been called swag for a long time. I prefer to believe
(no proof, mind you, just pure conjecture) that swag's new popularity
started up with the pirate movies starting in the early naughts, or that,
whatever the timing, it comes from loot and then got backronymed to s-w-a-g.
Does anyone have any dates on when swag started to appear in this sense? Or
any other info on the matter? Enquiring minds want to know.

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