There are 2 main definitions of mug in English:

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mug1

Line breaks: mug
Pronunciation: /mʌɡ
 
/

noun

1A large cup, typically cylindrical with a handle and used without a saucer: she picked up her coffee mug
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.
Synonyms
beaker, cup;
tankard, glass, stein, flagon, pot, pint pot, toby jug
dated seidel
archaic stoup
1.1The contents of a mug: I drank a mug of tea
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: I don’t want to see Barry’s ugly mug when I get home
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.
Synonyms
informal clock
British informal mush, phiz, phizog, dial
British rhyming slang boat race
Scottish & Irish informal coupon
North American informal puss, pan
literary visage
archaic front
3British informal A stupid or gullible person: they were no mugs where finance was concerned
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.
Synonyms
fool, simpleton, innocent, dupe, gull
British informal muggins, juggins, charlie
North American informal patsy, sap, schlemiel, pigeon, mark
Australian/New Zealand informal dill
North American vulgar slang asshat
4US informal A hoodlum or thug.
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.

verb (mugs, mugging, mugged)

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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.
Synonyms
assault, attack, set upon, beat up, knock down, rob
informal jump, rough up, lay into, work over, steam
British informal duff up, do over
North American informal stick up
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.

Origin

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'.

More
  • A mug was first of all a measure of salt, then a large earthenware vessel or bowl. In the 18th century drinking mugs commonly represented a grotesque human face. This may be the origin of mug in the sense ‘a face’, which in turn probably gave rise to mug as an insult for a stupid or gullible person, from their blank or unintelligent expression. In 19th-century slang mug was particularly a term for someone who has been duped by a card sharp or confidence trickster—this is behind a mug's game. People were robbed and attacked in public places before the 1860s, but before then the words mug and mugger would not have been used. They go back to the ‘face’ sense: to mug was originally a boxing term meaning ‘to punch an opponent in the face’ or ‘a blow to the face’.

Phrases

a mug's game

1
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.

Derivatives

mugful

1
noun (plural mugfuls)
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.

Words that rhyme with mug

bug, chug, Doug, drug, dug, fug, glug, hug, jug, lug, plug, pug, rug, shrug, slug, smug, snug, thug, trug, tug

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There are 2 main definitions of mug in English:

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mug2

Line breaks: mug
Pronunciation: /mʌɡ
 
/

verb (mugs, mugging, mugged)

[with object] (mug something up) British informal
Learn or revise a subject as far as possible in a short time: 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.
Synonyms
study, get up, read up, cram
informal bone up (on)
British informal swot
archaic con

Origin

mid 19th century: of unknown origin.

More
  • A mug was first of all a measure of salt, then a large earthenware vessel or bowl. In the 18th century drinking mugs commonly represented a grotesque human face. This may be the origin of mug in the sense ‘a face’, which in turn probably gave rise to mug as an insult for a stupid or gullible person, from their blank or unintelligent expression. In 19th-century slang mug was particularly a term for someone who has been duped by a card sharp or confidence trickster—this is behind a mug's game. People were robbed and attacked in public places before the 1860s, but before then the words mug and mugger would not have been used. They go back to the ‘face’ sense: to mug was originally a boxing term meaning ‘to punch an opponent in the face’ or ‘a blow to the face’.

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