When I was a little kid my dad told me that the word "swag," was an acronym for "stuff we all get." However, as I've gotten older I now have the feeling that my dad’s definition may not have been as correct as he would like to think. In today's society, where Beiber fever spreads like the flu, and Kanye West is king, it seems that the term "swag" can really take on whatever definition that our pop culture icons would like it to. When I realized this, my confusion soon turned to curiosity. So, I did something that is very out of the ordinary for today's youth, I used a dictionary. (Well, technically it was the Merriam Webster and Urban Dictionary websites, but I think that still counts.) Definition of swag:
intransitive verb 1. sway, lurch 2. sag, droop transitive verb
1. to adorn with swags 2. to arrange (as drapery) in swags: (Merriam-Webster.com)
So to Justin Beiber, Kanye, Chris Brown, and other individuals in the music business, congrats, you've seemed to have caused some actual cultural change. Musicians seem to use it as a word for power, style, and a confident persona. I actually find this kind of interesting. In today's culture, does it really matter what a word or phrase technically means, or can we make them our own? My opinion is that it's okay for things like this to change.
In our culture we must be able to adapt to the unconventional. Unconventional has become the norm, it seems. Some traditions are meant to be broken after a few hundred years. For example, I don’t see a whole lot of animals being sacrificed for spiritual purposes. The misuse of words used to bother me. However it doesn't irritate me so much anymore. It's okay for things to change in order to keep up with our ever-evolving world. Just one warning to all the college bound teens out there. Studying for the vocabulary portion of the SAT by using Urban Dictionary is not helpful. That would be committing college application suicide.
Keep calm, and swag on.