or WAGs


What does wags mean?


Wags, or WAGs, is an acronym referring to the wives and girlfriends of professional athletes, especially high-profile sports personalities.

Examples of wags


Examples of wags
i wish i was 6 shots & 3 drinks deep with my wag sister at fajitaville 👙🌴☀️🍹
@kaygo1227, May, 2018
As Spain prepare to play Gareth Southgate's Three Lions in their first game since the World Cup, we reveal the stunning WAGs cheering them on from the stands.
Tom Fish, Daily Star, September, 2018

Where does wags come from?


While wag can refer to the action of dog’s tail or a jokester, the focus of this piece is on the acronym wags, wives and girlfriends

In 2002, the English World Cup soccer team did a five-day “working holiday” with their entire families at the Jumeirah Beach Club, a luxury hotel in Dubai. The staff at the hotel, it’s said, coined the term wags to refer to the women stuck hanging at the hotel while the men went to work.

The earliest printed use of this term was in a May 2002 story in The Telegraph: 

While their menfolk sweated during training sessions in soaring temperatures and 98 per cent humidity, the Wags’ biggest dilemma was whether to baste their backs or their legs in SPF25 sunscreen, to have a manicure or buy a bikini in the resort boutique, or to cruise the sights in one of a fleet of Jaguars laid on for their transport.


The expression quickly became a staple of the British tabloid press, ever obsessed with covering the lifestyles of its soccer royalty. The papers were especially obsessed with wife of legendary footballer David Beckham: pop superstar Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham, AKA Queen of the WAGs.


While initially the term was used mainly in the plural (wags, as one, typically, doesn’t have a wife and girlfriend), by 2006 it was common enough for papers to use it in the singular for any romantic partner of an athlete (e.g., Maddie’s such a good WAG, she goes to all her boyfriend’s home games).

In 2015, the E! television network launched the TV show WAGS LA, with later spin-offs WAGS Miami and WAGS Atlanta. The reality shows, similar to the Real Housewives series, showed the lives of the wives and girlfriends of professional athletes like Antonio Gates’s wife Sasha Gates and Tito Ortiz’s girlfriend Amber Nicole Miller. The shows were all cancelled in 2018.


Who uses wags?

Usually wags is used as a noun, as in The wags went shopping, but it can also be used as a modifier (e.g., wag friends or wag style).

Referring to the wife or girlfriend of a professional athlete as a wag remains most popular in the UK, although the term has been picked up in the US, as seen by the short-lived E! series. The term is also most commonly used within the sports community and press, though it has trickled into some use for the wives and girlfriends of other high-profile people.

Many may consider the term sexist, as it presumes that men are athletes in society and women are just pretty things along for the ride. (What would you call the male partner of a female athlete? HABs?). It also refers to these women only by virtue of their relation to the men in their lives—not to mention typically admires them just for their looks. Let’s just say it’s not the most feminist of ideas, as shown by the first Telegraph article back in 2002.

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