Green’s Dictionary of Slang

swag n.1

[14C SE swag, a bulgy bag]

1. (UK Und.) a shop (and its contents) viewed as booty.

[Ire]Head Eng. Rogue I 52: Swagg, a Shop.
[Ire]Head Canting Academy (2nd edn).
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Swag A Shop.
[UK]Hell Upon Earth 6: Swag, a Shop.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Noted Highway-men, etc. I 209: He taught his Pupil a deal of canting Words, telling him [...] Swag, a Shop.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 14: We left our Horses in Mount Pleasant, while we went a milling that Swag, i.e., breaking open that Shop.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Man of Pleasure’s Illus. Pocket-book n.p.: Fly as a hammer. I goes in this swag—darky’s the thing.

2. money, either notes and cash, esp. when illicitly gained.

[UK]J. Dyer Narrative of Life before Execution 33: One of them had felt his Pocket, and said there was Swag in it. [...] They found Thirty odd Shillings.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of Turf, Ring, Chase, etc. 167: Swag (the) — store of money. ‘The swag lies up-stairs, in a chest of drawers.’.
[Aus]J. Mudie Felonry of New South Wales 181: In short, having brought with her a supply of the swag, as the convicts call their ill-gotten cash, a wife seldom fails of having her husband assigned to her, in which case the transported felon finds himself his own master.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Jorrocks Jaunts (1874) 86: If you’re short of swag, come to Great Coram Street, where you shall have a bed, wear-and-tear for your teeth, and all that sort of thing found you.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 9 June 3/3: How they will swear when they see my swags / Landed at Sydney in three bushel bags.
[US]‘Greenhorn’ [G. Thompson] Bristol Bill 12/2: ‘We’ll bleed the old covey tonight. D—n him he has had more swag than he’s a right to!’ .
[UK]Mons. Merlin 18 Oct. 6/2: Numismatics seem to afford an unbounded range for the exercise of slang [...] if he receives it [i.e. money], he ‘sweeps up the dibs,’ or ‘pockets the swag,’ or ‘stows away the rowdies;’ to either of which substantives I believe it impossible to assign an etymology or a meaning.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 81/1: [spoken to a cashbox] Let’s see what’n soart uv a ‘swag’ thou carrys.
Scranton Republican (PA) 6 May 1/2: ‘It was the duty of Congress to make the great contractors let go of the ‘swag’ they received by means of abuses.’ ‘What does the gentleman mean by swag?’ ‘I mean undue compensation swelled from $613,000 to $2,200,000’.
[Aus]H. Nisbet ‘Bail Up!’ 149: Next morning when I went to the bank to collect the swag, they stopped the flimsy, and had me arrested before I could look round.
[NZ]N.Z. Observer 19 May n.p.: [caption] Well. old chappie, that is all my swag. How have you done?
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘Our New Horse’ in Man from Snowy River (1902) 32: And then when I think that they’re ready / To win me a nice little swag.
[UK]F. Gilbert [perf. Gus Elen] ‘Down the Road’ 🎵 Since first I copped a tidy lump of swag / I’ve always kept a decent little nag.
[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 251: Are you sober enough to give us a song? [...] There’s a good ’ouse to-night, an’ you’ll get a swag if you let ’er run right.
[US]Ade ‘The New Fable of the Private Agitator’ in Ade’s Fables 9: Those were the days of tall Hustling: If he saw an Opening six inches wide [...] the first thing you knew he was on the Inside demanding a fair cut of the Swag.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 78: Ten grand had slipped out of my clutch. The lawyer had showed the swag to me, in the handbag he carried.
[US]J. Archibald ‘Crash on Delivery’ in Flying Aces Nov. 🌐 Colonel, you did not do so good, either. You lost those doughs an’ the swag.
[US]S. Longstreet Decade 164: What do you boys think your end of the swag will be? Remember it’s a shrunken estate. There is a widow.
[US] ‘Mexicana Rose’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 36: My snakeskin billfold was loaded with swag.
[UK]S. Berkoff Decadence in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 9: Set up no doubt in pad / contributed by your not inconsiderable swag.
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Grave Doubt’ in Destination: Morgue! (2004) 94: They attempt a heist. Graham pulls a shotgun. The man has no swag.
[US]J. McCourt ‘Vilja de Tanquay Exults’ in Queer Street 298: After the war she tried / collectin’ swag from the government.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] ‘Fuck, even the Muslims have more swag than you do’.
[US]J. Ellroy Widespread Panic 16: I heisted a bookie room two days before [...] I blew half the swag on Joi.

3. (orig. UK Und., also swagg) a thief’s booty (esp. linen or clothes as opposed to jewels or plate) or a pedlar’s wares.

[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 42: I fence Swaggs; I sell Goods.
[UK] ‘Cant Lang. of Thieves’ Monthly Mag. 7 Jan. n.p.: The Swag is safely planted with the Fence, The Property is taken to the Receiver’s House.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Nov. XIX 87/2: Marshal, when did that man say he would send the swag?
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 20 Feb. 163/2: I had information of his house being a fence shop - a shop for buying swags. Court. Q. What is that? - A. Buying stolen property.
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 272: 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.
[UK] ‘Song of the Young Prig’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 82: Speak to the rattles, bag the swag, / And finely hunt the dummy.
[UK]letter 28 Dec. in Pierce Egan’s Life in London (10 Apr. 1825) 83/2: [H]ere we shipped ourselves on board an iron barge, and put the two oars (ores) together—l mean iron and silver, it was a fine swagg.
[UK]London Eve. Standard 6 Sept. 1/2: A perpetual watch is kept upon the numerous houses where the police are aware ‘swag’ is hourly conveyed.
[UK] ‘My Dimber Mot’ in Regular Thing, and No Mistake 66: For then’s the time to reap the swag, / When cracksmen rum charms ply; / And pigeon-fliers charge a drag, / And natty lads sound cly.
[Aus]Sydney Herald 18 June 4/2: [Y]ou may insinivate that prigging spoons and other swag is making all things equal.
[Aus]Sydney Gaz. 4 June 2/6: There is a villainous gang of thieves [...] who are in the habit of practising numberless schemes, to put themselves in possession of other people's properly. When they havesuccceded in carrying off what they in slang language call a ‘swag,’ they then retire to their den.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 57: schikster: Did you fake the slum, cully, last darky? gonniff: Faked it rumbo: copped the lob, darked the hommo of the cassey, and scarpered with the swag, bona.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 70: To say the truth, Van Diemen Bill had led such a life of suffering and crime that now, in his advanced age, when he found himself no longer capable of the more daring exploits by which heavy ‘swag’ (plunder) could be obtained [...].
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor III 432/2: The old man [...] told him of a ‘crib’ they were going to ‘crack,’ and of the heavy ‘swag’ they were likely to get.
[UK]Vanity Fair (N.Y.) 9 Nov. 216: Pinch all the swag and put the darbies on each nigger.
[Ind]‘Aliph Cheem’ Lays of Ind (1905) 84: They counted out the swag.
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 266: A very short residence in the house will tell John Thomas [...] if the ‘swag’ is worth the trying for.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 20 Dec. 11/3: The search was made and the ‘swag’ [...] disclosed.
[Scot]Dundee Courier (Scot.) 13 Oct. 6/6: I saved a little money and purchased a ‘hardware swag’ — razors, knives, scissors, spectacles.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 10: Jim cracked a case last night and fenced the swag for ten cooter.
[UK]A. Griffiths Chronicles of Newgate 203: Then [...] these useful accomplices drove at once to the receiver with the ‘swag’.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Equality’ Punch 22 Feb. 85/2: Normans nicked? Landlords copped? Lawyers fiddled? Quite likely; I dessay they did. / Are they going to hand back the swag arter years? Not a hacre or quid!
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 83: Swag, [...] plunder.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 24 Aug. 738: We got the swag to the house of a Waler in the black country.
‘The Wasp’ ‘Tales of the Penance Track’ in Bulletin (Sydney) 31 May 31/2: [T]he tale of the warders confiscating the ‘bag’ was a yarn got up by the Pincher, and that the Pincher had the swag, and was a low welsher.
[Can]A. Stringer Under Groove 18: It wasn't untU Dinney and I had divvied our swag that I wanted to travel eastward.
[UK]E. Pugh City Of The World 263: Fences don’t advertise [...] so that if you was to go in for a little casual bustin’ on your own, you’d never be able to get quit o’ the swag.
[UK]S. Scott Human Side of Crook and Convict Life 12: Sometimes the boys would actually sleep in the warehouses and have a meal there before bothering to remove the ‘swag’.
[UK]H. Carter [perf. Florrie Forde] Good ’Eavens, Mrs Evans 🎵 I’ve met burglars taking home their swag / Also the doctor with his little bag.
[US]‘Maxwell Grant’ ‘Murder Marsh’ in Shadow Oct. 🌐 We brought in the swag. He held it. That old geezer hatched up new jobs.
[UK]S. Jackson Indiscreet Guide to Soho 117: There are desperate men in plenty who will drive it for hold-up purposes for a 10 per cent. cut of the swag.
[UK]J. Arden Live Like Pigs XVII: Williams! There’s a couple got away across the gardens with some sort of swag.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 101: The safes that I’ve cracked and the jewelry I’ve sacked / I laid the swag at her feet.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 66: I know you guys whacked up the swag between you.
[US]N. Pileggi Wiseguy (2001) 14: Swag came in and out of that place all day long.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 136: A pro like her never popped a nut until she’d popped the swag.
[Aus](con. 1964-65) B. Thorpe Sex and Thugs and Rock ’n’ Roll 134: [of a prostitute] Hating to give half her hard-earned swag to him every night.
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 5: We ’d meet him [...] to divvy up whatever he’d managed to get for the swag.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 121: My old man used to move swag off the docks out of our basement [...] Somebody on the block was envious gave him up.
[US]S. King Finders Keepers (2016) 96: One of them had killed his partners so he could keep all the swag for himself.

4. any form of goods; also attrib.

[UK]A Canting Academy, or the Pedlar’s-French Dict. n.p.: A Swag Any sort of Goods [...] A quer Swag A few Goods [...] A rum Swag Great many Goods.
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK] ‘Of All The Blowings On The Town’ in Flash Chaunter 5: When I’m in quod, she ne’er forgets, / To bring to me good swags O.
Courier (Hobart, Tas.) 27 Oct. 3/1: [advert, from UK source] [I] stept home with my swag, and now safe landed at my little crib [etc].
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 66: He’s been on the tramp cadge to day, and has copped a decent swag of scran.
[UK] advert in ‘Ducange Anglicus’ Vulgar Tongue (1857) 45: Having some ready in his kick – [he] grabbed the chance – stepped home with the swag – and is now safely landed at his crib.
[UK]T.T. Hughes Tom Brown at Oxford (1880) 262: Halloa, here’s Drysdale with lots of swag.
[US](con. c.1840) ‘Mark Twain’ Tom Sawyer 223: I don’t care for her swag – you may have it.
[UK]T. Norman Penny Showman 52: Set out with the usual showman’s swag, such as fancy cups and saucers, gaudy vases, shaving mugs, etc.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Broadway Financier’ Runyon on Broadway (1954) 210: She comes into Mindy’s with all kinds of swag.
[US]W.A. Gape Half a Million Tramps 41: She got as many ‘swag sellers’ and ‘tappers’ as she could to take beds.
[UK]J. Worby Other Half 214: She then showed me her swag basket and told me that if she sold the lot she would make about ten pounds profit as it was all cheap swag from Manchester.
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 214: Today he was not merely old Ganger O’Cannon [...] but old Father Christmas with his swag up.
[UK]W. Hall Long and the Short and the Tall Act II: The Nips don’t import fancy swag.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett White Shoes 260: Crystal’s smuggled a great swag of dope in, a pair of false tits.
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 6: Good as gold he were, at the end of the day — just give his swag over nice and easy.
[UK]N. Griffiths Stump 51: This fuckin alky screwed Tommy out of a loader swag an fuckin disappeared.
[US]Rayman & Blau Riker’s 166: I was the one with the cigarettes and selling all of the swag, the food. [...] stuff like that.

5. the trade in small, second-rate articles; also attrib.

implied in swag shop
[UK]A. Smith Street Life in London (1969) 47: The fancy-ware trade – popularly termed ‘swag-selling’ [...] tempted so many of the street folks to take to the ‘swag-board’, the trade has been overdone.
[UK]Daily Chronicle 25 July 6/5: Another showman described himself as ‘the cheapest man for all kinds of swag watches, all goers’.

6. a lot or plenty of anything.

[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. 9/2: Kino, the macing cove, kidded on a dollymop where the bloak’s got a swag of sheen. Kino’s cocum, and he’s stagging to crack the crib. Kino, the housebreaker, enticed a servant-girl (to keep his company) where the master has a quantity of plate. Kino’s wary, and he is watching to break into the house.
[US]McCook Trib. (NE) 8 Oct. 2/1: Motta replied that his dad had swags of moneyl.
[Aus]E. Dyson ‘In Hospital’ in ‘Hello, Soldier!’ 21: I was give a gun, ’n’ a bay’net bright, / ’N’ a ’ell of a swag iv work.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 118: I crashed into a store and stole a swag of crackers and cheese.
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 446: I’ll give you a good swag of tucker and a cheque.
[Aus](con. 1936–46) K.S. Prichard Winged Seeds (1984) 38: Wally sold the business and lit out soon afterwards, leaving Peter a swag of debts to settle.
[NZ]B. Crump Hang On a Minute, Mate (1963) 98: Tony said a bloke he didn’t like had a whole swag of overfed hens.
[Aus]Bug (Aus.) 25 Aug. 🌐 The vast swag of referees are doing their best to ignore the swearing ban.
[Aus]S. Maloney Sucked In 42: The amalgamation must have increased its membership by a hefty swag.
Westside TV 1 Nov. 🌐 Ray BLK learning swag from her mum.

7. (UK/Aus./N.Z.) the pack carried by an itinerant or vagrant.

[UK]W.A. Miles Poverty, Mendicity and Crime; Report 146: ‘What have you done with your swag?’ i.e., your bundle or roll, asked Prime.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 6 Dec. 3/1: [U]nder the shelter of its verandah did ‘black Stevey’ lay down his swag and the burthen of his conscience together.
[Aus]Adelaide Obs. (SA) 19 Feb. 2/4: [T]he less lucky votaries of the blind Goddess are compelled to tramp to town, each laden with his indispensable blanket, termed, in the slang of the Gold-field, his ‘swag,’ and with tin pot, revolver, and fossicking knife.
[Aus] T. McCombie Aus. Sketches 5: There was the solitary pedestrian, with the whole of his supplies, consisting of a blanket and other necessary articles, strapped across his shoulders: this load is called the ‘swag’ and the mode of travelling ‘swagging it.’.
[Aus]J. Armour Diggings, the Bush, and Melbourne 2: The packs, or as we were taught to call them, ‘swags,’ began to sit heavy on many of our unaccustomed shoulders.
[NZ]M.A. Barker Station Life in N.Z. 126: All the ‘swags’ had to be packed and apportioned for the very long and steep ascent.
[UK]‘Aus. Colloquialisms’ in All Year Round 30 July 66/2: The ‘swag,’ also sometimes called a ‘drum,’ is the bundle, generally consisting of a large blanket rolled up, which contains the personal luggage of the man who carries, or ‘humps’ it.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 81: I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw [...] nothing left at the camp but the horses and the swags.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Drover’s Wife’ in Roderick (1972) 50: A gallows-faced swagman [...] threw his swag down on the verandah and demanded tucker.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Romance of the Swag’ in Roderick (1972) 500: The Australian swag was born of Australia and no other land — of the Great Lone Land of magnificent distances and bright heat; of Self-Reliance, and Never-give-in and help-your-mate.
[NZ]H. Thompson ‘Ned Dunne’ Ballads About Business and Back-Block Life 61: He carried on his back a swag with tent and fly.
Bay of Plenty Times 21 July 2/4: An elderly man [...] passed through Masterton the other day with a swag on his back.
[NZ]‘Anzac’ On the Anzac Trail 4: [W]e sampled to the full the joys of sleeping on rain-soaked blankets [...] we weren’t sorry to transfer our swags to the more kindly shelter of the huts.
[Aus]E. Dyson Missing Link 🌐 Ch. xvi: Nickie went [...] to work to overhaul an open swag. He took a coat, pair of trousers, a pair of boots, and a hat.
[UK]V. Palmer Passage 24: He had been known to roll a swag and set off for the ranges.
[Aus]D. Stivens Tramp and Other Stories 25: He was crouching on the floor, long arms resting on his rolled-up swag.
[Aus](con. 1830s–60s) ‘Miles Franklin’ All That Swagger 68: It was then that the Australian learned to roll a swag and pad the track.
Press (Canterbury) 2 Apr. 18: ‘Swag,’ ‘wowser,’ ‘sool,’ and ‘shakedown,’ words with a reckless open-air tang.
[US]J.A.W. Bennett ‘Eng. as it is Spoken in N.Z.’ in AS XVIII:2 Apr. 88: The same method of word formation gives [...] swaggy (also swagger, a tramp carrying a swag).
[NZ]P. Newton Wayleggo (1953) 35: We rolled our ‘swags,’ and headed for Glenthorne.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 7: He had two swags, one of them with legs and a cabbage-tree hat.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Yarns of Billy Borker 51: He rolls up his swag and legs it up the opposite bank and down to the railway station.
[Aus](con. 1941) R. Beilby Gunner 70: Having cops search your swag because you were a stranger in a town.
[Aus]P. Barton Bastards I Have Known 52: I was riding down the steep Mount Barker Road with my swag.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Boys from Binjiwunyawunya 281: ‘Jesus. How goopd’s this joint.’ [...] ‘Somewhere to throw your swag, I s’pose’.
[Aus]Penguin Bk of More Aus. Jokes 434: The first bloke had decamped. He’d disappeared, leaving only a scrap of paper under a stone where his swag had been.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 12 Aug. 6: He preferred to sleep on the floor [...] in his swag, a bush bedroll, rather than in the king-size bed.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 204: swag Backpack of the tramp, who is known as a swagger/swaggie/swagman.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 4 71: I had every clear intention of asking the lovely Mary-Ann to pick up her swag and boot off down the road.
[Aus] D. Whish-Wilson ‘In Savage Freedom’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] I’d placed the two swags as near the fire as possible.

8. (UK Und.) a share in booty.

[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn).
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.

9. a trader in small articles, the keeper of a swag shop

[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 349/2: Himself formerly a street-seller, now ‘a small swag’.
[UK]A. Smith Street Life in London (1969) 47: I’ll back myself again any ‘cove’ to make a living; I sell so cheap I’ve broke the h’arts of every blessed ‘swag’ in the Cut.

10. (US Und.) a bribe.

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 7 Sept. n.p.: It would not do to convict Dan or Jack Tierney, they are too valuable auxiliaries to the detective department, in turning over big ‘swags’ to the department, whereby twenty thousand dollars can be made in a day.

11. a robbery.

[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 62: Scar-face Mike Hagan thet has slept in the swellest hotels in Philly and York and Chi [...] when I pulled down a good clean swag.

12. (US black) a party.

L.J. Garrett ‘Gadaboutiing in Baltimore’ in Afro-American (Baltimore, MD) 15 June 14/4: Of course I could write about that Zeta swag [...] Just about all the young fry were there.

13. (UK und.) cheap jewellery or other small articles.

[UK]Thieves Slang ms list from District Police Training Centre, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwicks 11: Swag: Cheap jewellery and haberdashery.
(con. 1888) T. Cullen Autumn of Terror 104: Diemschutz was a hawker of cheap jewellery, or 'swag' as it was known to the trade .

14. (drugs) cannabis.

OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. 🌐 swag n. cannabis.

15. free merchandise given away at publicity events.

[US]Baltimore Sun (MD) 30 Jan. E1/1: Swag — or ‘schwag’ [...] is the name for gift bags that are handed out at parties [...] A Sundance Channel party was known to be a major swag outlet.
[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2014 14: SWAG — free desirable merchandise: ‘You should go to the event. They have lots of free swag’.
‘Elvis Costello’ Unfaithful Music 169: I hadn’t emptied the bag since my return from my Australian and Japanese tour, so it was full of fascinating swag.

16. (UK black) vocabulary, terminology.

[UK]Eve. Standard 4 July 8/4: ‘The [gang] words originate from Jamaican patois and then get mixed up with new swag from the youngers when they in prison. [...] Jail is where the new words come from’.

17. see swag shop

In derivatives

swagless (adj.)

1. lacking booty.

Lincoln Eve. News (NE) 29 June 2/4: [headline] Swagless Swiggers. Tipplers and Suspicious Men Up in Court.
[UK]Marvel 15 May 14: A couple of swagless, though well-fed burglars.
Chicago Dly Trib. 21 Nov. 6/3: The loot squad homeward plods its swagless way.

2. (US) in sport, lacking in score.

News-Messenger (Fremont, OH) 18 Mar. B4/5: Several players had uncharacteristically swagless games.
swagman (n.)

(Aus. und.) that member of a criminal team deputed to leave with the plunder.

[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 83: Swagman, [...] he who takes away the plunder.
swagwise (adv.)

in the manner of an intinerant’s pack.

[Aus]Wkly Times (Melbourne) 4 Jan. 5/2: He [...] pillaged the larder for bread, scones, tarts - anything he could lay his grimy paws upon. He rolled them swagwise in a kitchen towel.

In compounds

swag-barrow man (n.)

a street-seller of miscellaneous goods; thus swag-barrow, his cart.

[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 355/1: Of these swag-barrowmen, there are not less than 150. [...] The tinwares of the swag-barrows are nutmeg-graters, bread-graters, beer-warmers, fish-slices, goblets, mugs, save-alls, extinguishers, candle-shades, money-boxes, children’s plates, and rattles. [Ibid.] 447/1: At the back and sides of the swag-barrow are generally articles which are best displayed in an erect position [...] The miscellaneous dealers of whom I am treating, who are known among street-folk as ‘swag-barrowmen,’ or in the popular ellipsis, ‘penny swags’.
T. Bonnet Mudlark 212: Ben Fox, the tosher; Iron George, the swag-barrow man; Mrs. Feeney, the hurdy-gurdy woman.
swag chovey (n.) [chovey n.]

(UK Und.) a criminal receiver’s shop or store; thus swag-chovey bloke/bloak, a marine store dealer.

[UK]H. Brandon Dict. of the Flash or Cant Lang. 168: The paper makers get the tats and [...] fence the milky ones with some swag chovey bloak.
[UK]Cheltenham Chron. 4 Feb. 4/4: I took them [i.e. stolen goods] to a Swag Chovey Bloak.
[UK]‘Ducange Anglicus’ Vulgar Tongue 39: [as cit. 1839].
[Aus] glossary in Occurence Book of York River Lockup in Seal (1999) 37: I took them to a swag chovey bloak and got 6 finnips and a cooter for the yacks.
[UK]Derbyshire Courier 12 Dec. 7/1: Local Flash language [...] A swag chovey bloak, a marine store dealer who buys stolen property.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. 9/2: The paper makers get the tats, and never tip the mots a posh, but fence the milky ones with some swag chovey bloak. The men who pretend they are from a paper mill obtain the rags, and never pay the women (of the houses they call at) anything, and then sell the white rags to some marine store dealer.
[US]Sun (NY) 10 July 29/4: Here is a genuine letter written in thieves’ slang, recently found by the English police [...] I know a lavender cove and a swag chovey bloke that will toke [sic] some of the white jacks.
swag-cove (n.) [cove n. (1)]

(UK Und.) a receiver of stolen goods.

[Scot]D. Haggart Life 67: I performed the part of a swag cove through the Carse of Gowrie, where I disposed of most of the stockings. Having got to Dundee, we fenced the thaan to a broker and flash-cove, named James Davidson.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
swagman (n.)

see separate entries.

swag shop (n.) (also swag)

a shop that deals wholesale in cheap articles.

[UK]Egan Boxiana 2nd Ser. II 74: It is impossible to describe the applause bestowed upon Delay by the boys of the Blue Anchor, the Cock and Cross, and the Ship and Gun, near the great swag shop in the east.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 105: swag-shop, a warehouse where ‘Brummagem’ and general wares are sold, fancy trinkets, plated goods, &c. Jews are the general proprietors, and the goods are excessively low priced, trashy, and showy.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 267/1: All these street-sellers obtain their supplies at the ‘swag-shops’. [Ibid.] 333/2: The slaughterer sells by retail; the swag-shop keeper only by wholesale. [Ibid.] 335/2: One of the largest ‘swags’ made such an allowance to a street-seller last week.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[Scot]Dundee Courier (Scot.) 6 May 7/4: I’ll buy a swag in the blinks line. I know something of that business.
[Scot]Dundee Courier 15 Sept. 7/5: The shop was what we call a swag shop, or in plain English, a Birmingham and Sheffield warehouse.
[UK]Sheffield Dly Teleg. 21 Dec. 8/1: If the cutlers worked for nothing but honour it would only serve the swag shop or shoddy manufacturer, to cut each other’s throats in selling their goods .
[UK]Manchester Eve. News 19 June 2/5: He had said that he got the stuff at a ‘swag shop’ in Withy Grove [...] but to-day he admitted stealing it from a shop in Oldham.
[UK]Leamington Spa Courier 13 Sept. 7/1: The ‘swag’ shop is the slang name given by tramps to the establishments at which they are in the habit of purchasing their wares.
[UK]W.H. Davies Adventures of Johnny Walker 166: There may not be a swag-shop (a shop where hawkers are supplied) near.
[UK]P. Allingham Cheapjack 199: There are many swag shops in Manchester.
[Ire]Eve. Herald (Dublin) 9 Jan. 15/2: [advert] The Swag Shop [...] Vast Selection of Pound Shop Lines Our price 89p.
[UK]Liverpool Echo 27 July 34/1: [advert] The Swag Shop Supporting Kids in Need.
swagsman (n.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

dead swag (n.)

1. (US und.) a disappointing haul from a robbery.

[US]Matsell Vocabulum.

2. (Aus./US und.) potential loot that is rejected due to its unwieldiness .

[US]Cincinnati Enquirer (OH) 30 June 11/2: Money, jewelry, diamonds and silver-ware are all that are touched. ‘Dead swag,’ or cumbersome goods are too heavy to carry or dispose of.
[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict 23: Dead Swag plunder not easily disposed of.
gentleman of the swag (n.)

(N.Z.) a tramp.

H. Beattie Early Runholding in Otago 12: The class of wayfarers [...] were always called swaggers in Otago. These ‘gentlemen of the swag’ were not in evidence until after the gold diggings broke out.
go on the swag (v.) (also be on the swag)

(Aus./N.Z.) to travel as an itinerant.

[Aus]Westralian Worker (Perth, WA) 14 Apr. 1/2: The ‘pommy,’ not knowing the ropes, and being in a strange land, will accept a pound or thirty shillings—he’s got to; or else starve or go on the ‘swag’.
[Aus]Newcastle Sun (NSW) 13 Oct. 5/5: Before he left he asked her if she would go on the swag with him but she said she could not as her child was too young.
[UK](con. 1930s) I. Agnew Loner 63: I want a shakedown [... I’m on the swag.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 51/2: go on the swag become a tramp; eg ‘During the Great Depression, many men had no choice but to go on the swag. There was nothing for them to do at home.’.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].
hump one’s swag (v.) (also hump a swag, …the swag) [hump v.1 (3d)]

(Aus./N.Z.) to carry a pack; note cit. 1861 refers to a tea-chest; cit. 1907 uniquely refers to S. Afr.

[[UK]Empire (Sydney) 17 Oct. 2/4: [in context of mining] From the hill at the Razorback side of Oakey, the Messrs. Owen [...] are ‘humping the swag’ to the washing hole, and doing fairly; but the labour is immense].
[Aus]W. Howitt Two Years in Victoria (1855) I 226: He ‘humped his swag’, in diggers’ phrase, that is, shouldered his pack.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 16 Feb. 3/6: The missing demi-chest was [...] on the back of Mr. Hannon, who, as the porters were all engaged, had condescendingly ‘humped the swag’.
[Aus]M. Clarke in Money Knocking About in N.Z. vi: When he meets with some unpretending fellow [...] who has ‘humped his swag’ into strange lands, and traversed the ‘wallaby-track’ under the direst conditions.
[Aus]‘Edward Howe’ Roughing It in Van Diemen’s Land 29: They were to travel on foot, ‘humping the swag’.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘On Kiley’s Run’ in Man from Snowy River (1902) 84: The lonely swagman through the dark / Must hump his swag past Chandos Park.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Send Round the Hat’ in Roderick (1972) 476: You don’t expect ’em to hump their swags to Sydney!
[SA]P. Fitzpatrick Jock of the Bushveld 14: The Lydenburg Goldfields prospectors ‘humping their swags’ or driving their small pack-donkeys.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 Aug. Red Page/4: [T]he pen-name stands for Edwin Greenslade Murphy, who humped his swag and took to dryblowing in the early days of Coolgardie.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Haxby’s Circus 43: Billy humped a swag for this act.
[Aus]K. Willey Ghosts of the Big Country 112: And the time had come, the shearer knew, / To hump the swag outback.
penny swag (n.)

a seller of penny lots.

[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 447/2: The miscellaneous dealers of whom I am treating, who are known among street-folk as ‘swag-barrowmen,’ or, in the popular ellipsis, ‘penny swags’.