There are 2 definitions of mug in English:


Syllabification: mug
Pronunciation: /məɡ


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; Britishbeaker
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)

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1 [with object] Attack and rob (someone) in a public place: he was mugged by three men who stole his bike
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
2 [no object] informal 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.


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'.


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: /ˈməɡˌfo͝ol/
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.

Definition of mug in:

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Word of the day animalcule
Pronunciation: ˌanɪˈmalkjuːl
a microscopic animal

There are 2 definitions of mug in English:


Syllabification: mug
Pronunciation: /məɡ

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.

Definition of mug in: