Thursday, July 28, 2005

SWAG, my favorite acronym

Renée and I had the opportunity to receive and ponder SWAG last night as we left the book party celebrating the release of Jennifer van der Kwast's debut novel, POUNDING THE PAVEMENT. As we stood on opposite platforms of the F-train, ex-Ithacan Kaplan and I shouted to one another with glee as we opened our loot bags and pulled out some truly excellent goodies. Of course getting a copy of the book itself was a really nice treat (and kudos to Broadway Books for supplying them... seriously, that's a great gesture) but the swag bag was also full of Bumble and Bumble products, Flirt Peek-A-Blush, and Stila Body Milk (?).

If the book gives me as much of an all-over glow as these beauty aids, I'll have found my most transformative tome of the summer. But as I sat on the subway, slathering body milk on my calves (that is where one is supposed to slather it, right?) I realized I've been using the word "swag" since my arrival here in Manhattan,--swag central--and I was never 100% sure of the word's etymology.

At first I'd assumed the word was "schwag." But I was quickly disabused of this notion when I said schwag with a swagger and I heard snickers. It then occured to me that swag must be an acronym of some sort, but I wasn't sure what it stood for. (Kind of like "snafu," which, upon learning it stood for "situation normal all fucked up," further endeared the word to me.) So I finally did the work and for my edification and now yours, I present my findings.

According to, the definition of SWAG is:
A noun
1 a bundle containing the personal belongings of a swagman
2 loot, booty, pillage, plunder, prize, swag, dirty_money

A-ha! So it's a real word.

But then there's this:
SWAG is an acronym for the Star Wars Artists' Guild (residing here (

Ooh, yick, I don't like it anymore (though I'll still take the booty bags)

Still, there's also this:
SWAG: Scientific Wild Ass Guess Academic & Science->Universities

Okay, getting more acceptably amusing.

And finally this, from
SWAG - Stuff We All Get

BINGO! (and several points if anyone can tell me what that stands for...)

All this is to say, though, that between a kick ass party at Sugar, where I ran into master blogger Ron Hogan and Rachel Kramer Bussel, and a great bag of goodies, Jennifer van der Kwast and her novel are off to a great and hopefully wildly successful start!


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