swank <> swanky

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Senior Member
When we describe someone or something as swank or swanky, do we mean it in positive way?

He is a swank man.
He is a swanky man.
swanky property.

  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Unless used in a obviously light-hearted context by an old person, I would agree with DocP.

    And on another point, I have never seen swank used as an adjective - only swanky. The last time I heard swanky must have been over 50 years ago - it sounds very dated.

    I would avoid swank and all derivatives.


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I too have never heard swank as an adjective, but our dictionary notes that this is possible in AmE:

    swank /swaŋk/ informal
    verb display one's wealth, knowledge, or achievements so as to impress others.
    noun behaviour, talk, or display intended to impress others.
    adjective North American term for swanky.
    I think I have heard swanky more recently than 50 years ago (particularly as I am not quite 50 myself!). :D It doesn't sound dated to me, as in these examples off the internet:
    Essex is the third busiest UK airport in a very swanky modern terminal designed by Norman Foster.
    ... househunting for a swanky pad in London ...
    ... Michelin-starred meal at a swanky
    restaurant ...

    But I agree that the use is often light hearted or humorous.

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