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

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Wed Nov 14 18:39:37 EST 2018

OED has the "thief's plunder or booty" meaning from 1794, as previously

1794   Sessions Papers Central Criminal Court Jan. 341/1   There are very
few gentlemen here on the jury but what know what a swag is; the meaning
is, a bundle of clothes that are stolen from any place.

On Wed, Nov 14, 2018 at 6:17 PM James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at netscape.com>

> https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/game-thrones-george-rr-martins-fire-blood-book-excerpt-1160897
> _Memoirs of James hardy Vaux, Written by Himself_  London: 1819
> starting on page 153 is a glossary of "flash language" (criminal argot)
> page 216 "SWAG, a bundle, parcel, or package; as a swag of snow, &c.  The
> swag, is a term used in speaking of any booty you have lately obtained, be
> it of what kind it may, except money, as Where did you lumber the swag?
> that is, where did you deposit the stolen property?  To carry the swag is
> to be the bearer of the stolen goods to a place of safety.  A swag of any
> thing, signifies emphatically a great deal.  To have knap'd a good swag, is
> to have got a good booty.
> page 207 SNOW, clean linen from the washerwoman's hands, whether it be wet
> or day
> This is the result of a ten-second search on Google Books; earlier usages
> of swag as "booty" may exist
> Off-topic: SWAG is an acronym for "Scientific Wild-Assed Guess"

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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