SWUG, dayger

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri May 30 20:34:15 UTC 2014

On May 30, 2014, at 2:40 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:

> At Yale, "SWUG" = 'senior washed-up girl' and "dayger" = 'daytime rager':
> http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/04/meet-the-swugs-of-yale-women-washed-up-at-21.html
> (Article is from Apr. 2013 but is showing up in social media today for some
> reason.)
> Larry, have these shown up on the student slang lists you've collected?
> --bgz
Neither of these showed up on my last incarnation of the New English Word Journal (spring 2013).  But the previous time around, in 2011, there was this entry from the NEWJ submitted by Alon Harish, antedating by 2+ years Raisa Bruner's Yale Daily News article mentioned in Silverman's NYMag piece, viz. http://yaledailynews.com/weekend/2013/03/29/swugnation/:
4. swug — [swʌg] n. 1. An acronym for “Senior Washed-Up Girl.” Any female college senior, who due
to the mating dynamics of college students, are found less sexually desirable than their younger
counterparts. adj. 1. Of or relating to swugs.

Etymology: _Swug_ is not always used in a negative light. For instance, in the Urban Dictionary example,
a girl embraces the swug lifestyle: “I texted two sophomore guys and got rejected by both, but I don't
even care because I have a bottle of wine and my $150 vibrator—I LOVE SWUG LIFE.” In general,
however, the term is meant as an insult when used by those who are not themselves swugs, though
almost always in jest. For example, a recent email I received announcing a party contains the line “Bring
your swag, not your swug.” (_Swag_ is another new word, though a few years older than _swug_, meaning
roughly “enhanced appearance.”)

Date and context when encountered: February 24, 2011
In a Yale Daily News article by Cristina Constantini [sic; her name is actually *Costantini*, as below]
print), the author lists 30 academic paper titles, half of which were taken from actual papers
submitted in Yale classes. One title contained swug in its original form: “A Woman’s Right to Booze:
Deconstructing the Feminist Narrative of Marginalized S.W.U.G. Communities”

I have since heard swug on numerous occasions both in and outside of the Yale Daily News, most
recently at a meeting Mar. 28.

Note that Mr. Harish's link doesn't work as given, but perhaps the article can be tracked down by other means, although a search under "Costantini" turned up nothing by her, just two articles in which she was mentioned by name (she was a graduating senior in 2011).  Googling "SWUG" at the YDN cite provides no hits earlier than this column--


--by Chloe Drimal. (Drimal was cited as a source of inspiration on SWUGgery by Bruner in her above-linked March '13 YDN piece later that same academic year.)

And from last fall there's also FWUG, the refreshingly sex-inclusive Freshman Washed-Up Guy/Girl: http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2013/09/06/milstein-profile-of-a-fwug/.  Evidently, you can never be washed up too early!

Given that Mr. Harish provided his cite in the spring of 2011, I'm inclined to think he did pick it up from a column in some YDN issue from that spring, even if I can't locate it online.  (I probably have a copy somewhere in my office.)

Isn't it reassuring to know the august traditions of your own Bright College Days at Yale are still as hallowed as ever, Ben?


P.S. Nothing on "dayger".

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

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