Main definitions of mug in English

: mug1mug2

mug1

noun

  • 1A large cup, typically cylindrical with a handle and used without a saucer:

    ‘she picked up her coffee mug’
    • ‘Two pewter mugs banged down in front of us, spilling liquid.’
    • ‘Nathan carefully set his own mug in the sink before stalking toward the same door Benny had just entered.’
    • ‘I plunked the mugs on the table and sat across from my best friend.’
    • ‘I smiled secretly to myself as I pulled out two mugs from the cupboard.’
    • ‘A visibly chastened man, holding a chipped mug of tea, Sven duly confirmed his Englishness.’
    • ‘The teacher lifted her empty coffee mug and headed to the door.’
    • ‘Jack was cleaning pewter beer mugs behind the bar.’
    • ‘I watched quietly as he set the jug to boiling and retrieved two mugs from a cupboard under the bench.’
    • ‘Her hands were trembling slightly, the crystal pitcher tinkling against the pewter mug.’
    • ‘We all get big ceramic mugs of hot tea.’
    • ‘One man sat alone, nursing his half-empty mug of beer.’
    • ‘Then she hands us each a plastic travel mug full of coffee.’
    • ‘"Thanks," I replied as he placed a steaming mug of black coffee in front of me.’
    • ‘The waitress hustled back nearly out of breath and placed a large white mug on their table.’
    • ‘Crete looked back up to Stu's face and picked up his scorching hot mug of cocoa.’
    • ‘Gaston got up and handed her a mug of cider.’
    • ‘Antonio pulled mugs from the cupboard, then handed me the cake plates.’
    • ‘When she tilts the mug to her lips, however, nothing comes out.’
    • ‘Rose stood before you, holding out two mugs of steaming hot chocolate.’
    • ‘Lan takes a sip from the mug in front of him, which contains weak coffee.’
    beaker, cup
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The contents of a mug:
      ‘I drank a mug of tea’
      • ‘Anyway, Mula had a dilemma because her boyfriend Kwang-Li was at a nearby café enjoying a fresh mug of bubble tea with mastodon jelly.’
      • ‘A mug of tea and a ham sandwich were very welcome.’
      • ‘A few young people, dressed up as if to go out, were milling around the small town square, presumably with the intention of having a mug of cocoa and a hobnob before going to bed.’
      • ‘First, drink two mugs full of Earl Gray tea that you've let steep for far too long.’
      • ‘I dumped the rest of the mug in the sink and rinsed it out.’
      • ‘A greasy egg, streaky bacon, a thick slab of Lorne sausage and a wedge of fried bread, all washed down with a large mug of sweet tea can often be a true restorative.’
      • ‘I'm sitting on the floor at the entrance of Block A, shooting the breeze with a fellow detainee, and enjoying as much as I can, a mug of hot Lipton tea.’
      • ‘The young man was reading a paperback novel and sipping a steaming mug of hot, black coffee.’
      • ‘Before leaving his home for Wigan at about 4.35 am on February 28, he had a mug of sweet tea and as he drove westward, he drank coffee from a flask.’
      • ‘Just had some muruku and a mug of lemon honey drink.’
      • ‘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 warmth of the fire and mug of mead were lulling him to sleep.’
      • ‘The man released him roughly and went to sit down again while Betty poured a mug of beer from a container at the back.’
      • ‘A mug of tea (the tea bag was still in) at £1.20 and a jug of fresh milk retrieved from an adjoining table rounded off my snack.’
      • ‘The drops of falling water hypnotized me as I sipped a steaming mug of green tea.’
      • ‘I open the shop at exactly 8.30 every morning, Monday to Saturday, and I take the quiet time before customers arrive to enjoy a sweet mug of Assam tea.’
      • ‘Yesterday, we met up with my family to go around the house that we are purchasing, enjoying a mug of tea with the couple that are selling to us.’
      • ‘Time marches on, and nowadays I'm content with a mug of good hot coffee, and grateful for it.’
      • ‘One aches for dirt, violence, drama - any kind of conflict at all - but the action's no more spicy than a mug of warm milk.’
      • ‘Even including off-the-track excursions we were usually at our destination, happily sipping a huge mug of beer in the square, by late afternoon.’
  • 2informal A person's face:

    ‘I don't want to see Barry's ugly mug when I get home’
    • ‘The terrorists haven't got the coverage to unmask their ugly mugs, because basically they are a bunch of cowards.’
    • ‘I just thought I wouldn't have to look at your ugly mug again for a while.’
    • ‘Jerry was the first one to get out and told them that with any luck, he wouldn't see either one of their ugly mugs until they had to report back.’
    • ‘Guys, you're not fooling anyone - I've seen your ugly mugs in the liner notes.’
    • ‘She asks to leave the room so she doesn't have to see his ugly mug and feigns drying tears with a handkerchief.’
    • ‘And for over a year, I had a great big picture of my ugly mug up at the top of the main index page.’
    • ‘I hope you'll be able to show some footage and not just our ugly mugs looking across the Atlantic at you.’
    • ‘They wore black robes similar to the Mors but they didn't have hoods to cover their ugly mugs.’
    • ‘If photographers want to wait all day to take pictures of my ugly mug that's up to them.’
    • ‘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…’
    • ‘What matters in America, is how well you stick your ugly mug on the television 24 hours a day.’
    • ‘Over the last few days some of you may have been horrified to receive an envelope bearing my ugly mug from MAG.’
    • ‘So now that you're familiar with our ugly mugs, let's begin!’
    • ‘It is kinda funny right now, as my ugly mug does adorn one page of a popular calendar.’
    • ‘Stalin's grave is also nearby - a featureless slab of gray marble, with a bust of his ugly mug stuck on top.’
    • ‘All they are interested in doing is getting their ugly mugs on the 6 o'clock news.’
    • ‘Canada Post makes a stamp allowing you to stick your very own ugly mug on an envelope for just 54 more cents than a regular stamp.’
    • ‘I didn't want his mug on the front page of my site.’
    • ‘If you go flinging thousands of dots in the air that bear the smiling mug of your secret crush, well, he'll probably catch on.’
    face, features, countenance, physiognomy
    View synonyms
  • 3British informal A stupid or gullible person:

    ‘they were no mugs where finance was concerned’
    • ‘It's billed as the simple tale of an Australian political superhero and his valiant battles with assorted mugs, dummies, gutless spivs, clowns, fools and scumbags.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Only we two mugs in the front got thrown out, still clutching our paddles.’
    • ‘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.’
    fool, simpleton, innocent, dupe, gull
    View synonyms
  • 4US informal A hoodlum or thug.

    • ‘It's a dour game for thugs, mugs and businessmen.’
    • ‘You would hate to meet any of these mugs in a dark alley.’
    • ‘This town is being held hostage by mugs, thugs, murderers and intimidators.’
    • ‘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

  • 1[with object] Attack and rob (someone) in a public place:

    ‘he was mugged by three men who stole his bike’
    • ‘During their three-day trip, two members of the delegation were mugged at gunpoint on the streets of Memphis.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Detectives say a number of thieves have tried - unsuccessfully - to mug undercover officers.’
    • ‘You're always going out to meet with your hoodlum gang to rob a supermarket or mug some guy or something.’
    • ‘An evil pair of thugs mugged a blind man - then threw him into a canal.’
    • ‘Another young woman was mugged at knifepoint on the same day near Woodstock Road.’
    • ‘I'd almost been mugged once, by several punks in a park.’
    • ‘Burglary, forgery, mugging old ladies, you name it, I did it all.’
    • ‘"Anyone would think we were mugging old ladies," said a spokesman.’
    • ‘A Swindon man was forced to hand over £100 when he was mugged in a public toilet.’
    • ‘Her selfless act of bravery led to the conviction of two girls who had mugged a pensioner.’
    • ‘A couple of nights ago, while I was walking from my car to my apartment, I was mugged and assaulted.’
    • ‘When he gets mugged by a gang of street punks and left beaten up in an alley, Goda's desire for a gun grows even more intense.’
    • ‘Two thugs mugged a blind woman and threatened to kill her guide dog.’
    • ‘If you mug an old lady you should get 20 years -- end of story.’
    • ‘A grieving pensioner was mugged by a violent thug on the way to her sister-in-law's funeral.’
    • ‘Aboud said that although businesses have security, shoppers were regularly being mugged on the city streets.’
    • ‘A famous Japanese couple visiting as tourists get accosted and mugged on the streets of New York.’
    • ‘Two teenagers were mugged at knifepoint as they walked home after a night out in Trowbridge.’
    • ‘We are always reading about old people being mugged on the streets and in their own homes.’
    assault, attack, set upon, beat up, knock down, rob
    jump, rough up, lay into, work over, steam
    duff up, do over
    stick up
    View synonyms
  • 2informal [no object] Make faces, especially silly or exaggerated ones, before an audience or a camera:

    ‘he mugged for the camera’
    • ‘Barbara Harris as Blanche plays her role as camp, mugging for the camera and acting like a dingbat the whole way though.’
    • ‘Porno actors do not mug for the camera; they maintain a fiction of authenticity.’
    • ‘While he's wrestling a croc to the ground, he's mugging to the camera for all he's worth.’
    • ‘She sits at her cluttered desk in her study, exhaling smoke, tossing Budweisers, reading poems and mugging for the camera.’
    • ‘He flashes his trademark smile, all the while mugging to the camera as if every bug-eyed move were a thousand dollar check (and judging by the film's budget, I may not be far off).’
    • ‘His wacky personality seems anything but morbid in the film, where he mugs for the camera and tells funny stories about his life.’
    • ‘Murphy mugs for the camera and basically plays himself.’
    • ‘The perfectly coifed doc on duty mugged coyly for the cameras as he explained the medical emergency.’
    • ‘Trey is a cop who moonlights as an actor and spends much of his time mugging for the cameras mounted inside the car he shares with Mitch.’
    • ‘There's plenty of fun on set, too, as the cast and crew quickly take to mugging for Pellerin's camera crew.’
    • ‘Every scene made me cringe as he mugged for the camera and offered those interminable witty retorts with that knowing gleam in his eye.’
    • ‘Moss' presence only serves to distract and irritate as he mugs for the camera and throws around unnecessary voice-overs describing his own actions.’
    • ‘Georgina Beyer's partner became largely superfluous as she sang along, mugged at the camera and generally hammed it up.’
    • ‘He claims that he used to be a nerd, and he mugs for the camera in that doofy smiley way.’
    • ‘Watch Space Cowboys and you'll see Donald Sutherland mugging for the camera and stealing just about every scene that he's in.’
    • ‘As for the video, I watched it once, it is 15 minutes of the band mugging for the camera.’
    • ‘Expect lots of silly dancing around and mugging to camera.’
    • ‘He mugs relentlessly for the camera, at one point sporting a bowtie pasta on his lip like a mustache.’
    • ‘In fact, the four whales often seem to be mugging for the cameras.’
    • ‘Connery seems to take every opportunity to mug for the camera.’

Phrases

  • 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’
      • ‘In truth, I declined the assignment because I knew that to write about men of power, in power, is a mug's game.’
      • ‘Whether times make the politician, or individuals drive events, forecasting a wannabe PM's likely legacy is a mug's game.’
      • ‘Not because I'm any sort of market purist, but because I think corporate welfare is a mug's game, and because I hate the idea of giving money to wealthy foreigners.’
      • ‘Furthermore, these truths are knowable only a posteriori - armchair chemistry is a mug's game.’
      • ‘Gambling is a mug's game (but investing in gaming businesses can be lucrative)!’
      • ‘Arguing in this fashion that capitalism doesn't ‘deliver the goods’ is a mug's game.’
      • ‘Passionate about the medium of radio, for a few years in the early '90s Ian worked in the field but soon came to the conclusion that radio is, by and large, a mug's game.’
      • ‘I've given a lot of money to sick animals in my time, mostly those running at Newmarket, but gambling isn't always a mug's game - sometimes it can put you on the road to riches.’
      • ‘But investing is a long-term business, and trying to second-guess short-term swings is a mug's game.’
      • ‘Predictions are a mug's game, and everybody knows it.’
      • ‘On this one, it's monumentally easy to see in advance that arguing about what happened in that contest is a mug's game.’
      • ‘It is a mug's game, designed to lock in a permanent pattern of economic subjugation and exploitation - and faced with this, refusing to play any more is a perfectly rational solution.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Any reader of this review will agree that if writing about music is hard, writing about writing about music is really a mug's game.’
      • ‘Debating the defects of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is, in many respects, a mug's game.’
      • ‘Even when the World Trade Organisation is alleged to be in fine working order, its workings are incomprehensible - so trying to make sense of its malfunctions is probably a mug's game.’
      • ‘The construction industry slump of the early 1990s taught him that competitive tendering for construction and civil engineering projects is a mug's game.’
      • ‘‘But trying to second-guess Philip Green is a mug's game,’ he said.’
      • ‘Amanda said: ‘Drugs are a mug's game and Andrew felt the only way of staying clean was to move out of Selby.’’
      • ‘The election is so near, and the polls so close, that it's now a mug's game to predict the outcome with anything approaching confidence, let alone certainty.’

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.

Pronunciation:

mug

/mʌɡ/

Main definitions of mug in English

: mug1mug2

mug2

verb

[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’
    • ‘Some time back in school mugging up on the re-instated Scottish system would perhaps help to instill in them a little overdue modesty as well.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mugging up on money matters might sound boring, but being financially savvy will save you thousands of pounds during your lifetime.’
    swot
    con
    study, get up, read up, cram
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 19th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation:

mug

/mʌɡ/