Swag and signage

I've noticed that there are some words that people use in such a way to show that they're trying to be cool and/or important by using them.

Two words that people seem to try to elevate their status with are "swag" and "signage."

In some places, I've either seen people post the word "swag" online or use it in conversation, as in "Get your swag here" or "Be sure to check out the [insert group] swag". They give a kind of emphasis to that word because it seems like they want to appear as "clever". Because the words "t-shirts" or "hats" are just too ordinary for them.

About signage: I have seen people who want to be more important than they are say, "We need to put the signage there" or "What about the signage?" As if it's too much for them to just say "signs"! Are signs so significant that they can't use such a common word, but have to complicate it by saying what they perceive as a fancy version of "signs"? Is "signage" really that special?

There are other words I've noticed, but I have to start writing down my observations on a pad or something because I can't remember them right now. But they're out there!


Jon Konrath said...

It's probably a backronym, but a trade show coordinator I knew about ten years always said it stood for "Shit Worthless that Anyone Gets". I don't think it's to be clever, it's just that when you have to say "t-shirts and promotional pens with brochures" 14,000 times a day, you tend to find a one-word abbreviation.

Margaret Larkin said...

I don't think that all users of such a word intend to seem clever, but it's the type of word that wannabees can latch on to.