There are 2 definitions of mug in English:


Syllabification: mug
Pronunciation: /məg


  • 1A large cup, typically cylindrical and with a handle and used without a saucer.
    More example sentences
    • "Thanks," I replied as he placed a steaming mug of black coffee in front of me.
    • The teacher lifted her empty coffee mug and headed to the door.
    • A visibly chastened man, holding a chipped mug of tea, Sven duly confirmed his Englishness.
    cup, glass; stein, flagon, tankard; British beaker
    archaic stoup
  • 1.1The contents of a mug: a large mug of tea vanished in a single gulp
    More example sentences
    • Time marches on, and nowadays I'm content with a mug of good hot coffee, and grateful for it.
    • Taking a long draught from his mug of ale, Colonel Paccar leaned back in his chair, and let his gaze wander over his four charges.
    • The man released him roughly and went to sit down again while Betty poured a mug of beer from a container at the back.
  • 2 informal A person’s face.
    More example sentences
    • It seems nobody feels that they are guilty until a big, blown up shot of their ugly mug is thrust in front of them with the speed that the offender was doing shown on the snap.
    • Obviously, the reason you keep seeing our four ugly mugs up here night after night is that the ratings are at such a level…
    • Guys, you're not fooling anyone - I've seen your ugly mugs in the liner notes.
  • 3US informal A hoodlum or thug.
    More example sentences
    • This town is being held hostage by mugs, thugs, murderers and intimidators.
    • It's a dour game for thugs, mugs and businessmen.
    • So went poor Jean Dexter, blonde and beautiful, choked and doped and drowned in the bathtub of her Upper West Side apartment by a couple of mugs in suits and leather gloves.
  • 4British informal A stupid or gullible person.
    More example sentences
    • The title of this piece might seem to be no more than a comment on the ease with which the flats, mugs, suckers, punters, marks, gulls, or coneys could be relieved of their money.
    • But if you work out how these people make their money, the answer is simple: from mugs who take the bait.
    • It was amazin' how he'd fooled so many mugs round here over the years and in fact how few people actually knew his record.

verb (mugs, mugged, mugging)

informal Back to top  
  • 1 [with object] Attack and rob (someone) in a public place: he was mugged by three men who stole his bike (as noun mugging) a brutal mugging
    More example sentences
    • A Swindon man was forced to hand over £100 when he was mugged in a public toilet.
    • Meanwhile, a woman suffered injuries to her arm and wrist after grappling with a robber who mugged her for her handbag in Bradford city centre.
    • A couple of nights ago, while I was walking from my car to my apartment, I was mugged and assaulted.
    assault, attack, set upon, beat up, rob
    informal jump, rough up, lay into, do over
  • 1.1 dated Fight or hit (someone).
    More example sentences
    • He said he told John to watch what he says and then mugged him in the face.
    • Harris specifically charges that Sgt. Cotterman "snapped" his head back with the towel and twice "mugged" him in the face.
  • 2 [no object] Make faces, especially silly or exaggerated ones, before an audience or a camera: he mugged for the camera
    More example sentences
    • Expect lots of silly dancing around and mugging to camera.
    • His wacky personality seems anything but morbid in the film, where he mugs for the camera and tells funny stories about his life.
    • He claims that he used to be a nerd, and he mugs for the camera in that doofy smiley way.


a mug's game

informal An activity in which it is foolish to engage because it is likely to be unsuccessful or dangerous: playing with drugs is a mug’s game
More example sentences
  • Whether times make the politician, or individuals drive events, forecasting a wannabe PM's likely legacy is a mug's game.
  • Amanda said: ‘Drugs are a mug's game and Andrew felt the only way of staying clean was to move out of Selby.’
  • I know, I know, it's a mug's game to try to ‘improve’ on any script, especially this one, but I'm curious to see what you'll think.



Pronunciation: /ˈməgˌfo͝ol/
noun (plural mugfuls)
More example sentences
  • I wasn't thirsty, but I drank a couple of mugfuls which went straight through me.
  • ‘Don't come near me,’ I muttered to myself, fearful of finding myself with a mugful of coffee tipped over me as she wobbled to a table.
  • We had a good time eating our meal, with a mugful of Esther's home-brew.


early 16th century (originally Scots and northern English, denoting an earthenware bowl): probably of Scandinavian origin; compare with Norwegian mugge, Swedish mugg 'pitcher with a handle'.

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Word of the day astrogation
Pronunciation: ˌastrə(ʊ)ˈgeɪʃ(ə)n
(in science fiction) navigation in outer space

There are 2 definitions of mug in English:


Syllabification: mug
Pronunciation: /

verb (mugs, mugging, mugged)

[with object] (mug something up) British informal
  • Learn or review a subject as much as possible in a short time; cram: I’m constantly having to mug up things ahead of teaching them [no object]: we had mugged up on all things Venetian before the start of the course
    More example sentences
    • One has the impression that Greenfield was informed she would be asked about this period in Freud's early psychoanalytic career, so she mugged it up from a psychoanalytic source and regurgitated it as best she could.
    • Education was more a case of ‘reproduction rather than application’, with everyone trying to ‘mug it up’, because what mattered was the not the ability to understand the subject, but to ‘write it down’.
    • It is the duty of any professional musician to mug up on all aspects of the subject.


mid 19th century: of unknown origin.

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