As funny as this is going to sound, having what some kids today call "swag" is actually different than having regular, old-fashioned swagger. Though it may seem that the word "swag" came as a result of abbreviating the word "swagger," the two have seemingly taken on much different definitions recently. But if these words are so similar in sound, how could their meaning be so far apart? The main reason is because one is a real word and the other has just become common slang.
One big difference between the two descriptive words are that one shows up in a real dictionary and one is just common slang that you can find in the Urban Dictionary. The dictionary definition of swagger is "a very confident and typically arrogant or aggressive gait or manner." The Urban Dictionary definition for swag is almost laughable. Sure, the two words are similar in meaning, but read between the lines and you can tell that there are major inconsistencies between them. Below is the definition for the word "swag":
"The way in which you carry yourself. Swag is made up of your overall confidence, style, and demeanor. Swag can also be expanded to be the reputation of your overall swagger. You gain swag, or "Swag up", by performing swag worthy actions that improve this perception. A person can also "swag down," by being an overall pussy and garnering negative swag for their actions. Swag is a subtle thing that many strive to gain but few actually attain. It is reserved for the most swagalicious of people. Swag can also be quantified, with point systems existing in some circles of friends." (compliments of Urban Dictionary)
According to the definition above, you are to assume that "swagger" is almost like a form of "swag." The first part of the definition is "the way in which you carry yourself." Well, if you carry yourself with confidence and semi-arrogance, then you are carrying yourself with swagger, not swag. Swag sounds like it is your reputation or "street cred." Swagger, on the other hand, sounds like a normal way of composing yourself. And the differences do not just stop there.
Though swagger's utter definition is to show off your overconfidence and arrogance, I feel that having "swag" is more arrogant. All swag seems to be is a way to talk yourself up and try to be better than everyone else. Swagger is just a word used to describe someone who is probably a little too proud and a little overzealous about themselves. People who proclaim to have this "swag" tend to be very arrogant, the epitome of overzealous, and are too proud to admit they are not as good as they proclaim to be.
Remember for a second: "swag" is not a real, proclaimed word. However, as much as we hear it in today's society, we might as well just add it to the dictionary. If you ask anyone who proclaims to have swag, they will preach to you that swag and swagger will never be one and the same. But if you proclaim to have swagger instead of swag, it seems to everyone around you that you have grown up. Swag seems like a juvenile concept thought up by someone who had nothing better to do and tried to talk himself up. The word "swag" may have started as an abbreviation of the word "swagger," but in the end, they are in no way one and the same.