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’
    • ‘I watched quietly as he set the jug to boiling and retrieved two mugs from a cupboard under the bench.’
    • ‘One man sat alone, nursing his half-empty mug of beer.’
    • ‘Jack was cleaning pewter beer mugs behind the bar.’
    • ‘Rose stood before you, holding out two mugs of steaming hot chocolate.’
    • ‘When she tilts the mug to her lips, however, nothing comes out.’
    • ‘Nathan carefully set his own mug in the sink before stalking toward the same door Benny had just entered.’
    • ‘Crete looked back up to Stu's face and picked up his scorching hot mug of cocoa.’
    • ‘Her hands were trembling slightly, the crystal pitcher tinkling against the pewter mug.’
    • ‘"Thanks," I replied as he placed a steaming mug of black coffee in front of me.’
    • ‘Lan takes a sip from the mug in front of him, which contains weak coffee.’
    • ‘The teacher lifted her empty coffee mug and headed to the door.’
    • ‘Two pewter mugs banged down in front of us, spilling liquid.’
    • ‘Gaston got up and handed her a mug of cider.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We all get big ceramic mugs of hot tea.’
    • ‘I plunked the mugs on the table and sat across from my best friend.’
    • ‘The waitress hustled back nearly out of breath and placed a large white mug on their table.’
    • ‘Then she hands us each a plastic travel mug full of coffee.’
    • ‘Antonio pulled mugs from the cupboard, then handed me the cake plates.’
    beaker, cup
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The contents of a mug.
      ‘I drank a mug of tea’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The drops of falling water hypnotized me as I sipped a steaming mug of green tea.’
      • ‘Time marches on, and nowadays I'm content with a mug of good hot coffee, and grateful for it.’
      • ‘I dumped the rest of the mug in the sink and rinsed it out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The young man was reading a paperback novel and sipping a steaming mug of hot, black coffee.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The warmth of the fire and mug of mead were lulling him to sleep.’
      • ‘Just had some muruku and a mug of lemon honey drink.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘First, drink two mugs full of Earl Gray tea that you've let steep for far too long.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A mug of tea and a ham sandwich were very welcome.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2informal A person's face.

    ‘I don't want to see Barry's ugly mug when I get home’
    • ‘It is kinda funny right now, as my ugly mug does adorn one page of a popular calendar.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Stalin's grave is also nearby - a featureless slab of gray marble, with a bust of his ugly mug stuck on top.’
    • ‘So now that you're familiar with our ugly mugs, let's begin!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Guys, you're not fooling anyone - I've seen your ugly mugs in the liner notes.’
    • ‘All they are interested in doing is getting their ugly mugs on the 6 o'clock news.’
    • ‘I just thought I wouldn't have to look at your ugly mug again for a while.’
    • ‘She asks to leave the room so she doesn't have to see his ugly mug and feigns drying tears with a handkerchief.’
    • ‘I didn't want his mug on the front page of my site.’
    • ‘What matters in America, is how well you stick your ugly mug on the television 24 hours a day.’
    • ‘And for over a year, I had a great big picture of my ugly mug up at the top of the main index page.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Over the last few days some of you may have been horrified to receive an envelope bearing my ugly mug from MAG.’
    • ‘I hope you'll be able to show some footage and not just our ugly mugs looking across the Atlantic at you.’
    • ‘The terrorists haven't got the coverage to unmask their ugly mugs, because basically they are a bunch of cowards.’
    • ‘Obviously, the reason you keep seeing our four ugly mugs up here night after night is that the ratings are at such a level…’
    face, features, countenance, physiognomy
    View synonyms
  • 3British informal A stupid or gullible person.

    ‘they were no mugs where finance was concerned’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But if you work out how these people make their money, the answer is simple: from mugs who take the bait.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Only we two mugs in the front got thrown out, still clutching our paddles.’
    fool, simpleton, innocent, dupe, gull
    View synonyms
  • 4US informal A hoodlum or thug.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’

verb

  • 1with object Attack and rob (someone) in a public place.

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

    ‘he mugged for the camera’
    • ‘He mugs relentlessly for the camera, at one point sporting a bowtie pasta on his lip like a mustache.’
    • ‘Barbara Harris as Blanche plays her role as camp, mugging for the camera and acting like a dingbat the whole way though.’
    • ‘As for the video, I watched it once, it is 15 minutes of the band mugging for the camera.’
    • ‘Every scene made me cringe as he mugged for the camera and offered those interminable witty retorts with that knowing gleam in his eye.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Expect lots of silly dancing around and mugging to camera.’
    • ‘There's plenty of fun on set, too, as the cast and crew quickly take to mugging for Pellerin's camera crew.’
    • ‘Porno actors do not mug for the camera; they maintain a fiction of authenticity.’
    • ‘Georgina Beyer's partner became largely superfluous as she sang along, mugged at the camera and generally hammed it up.’
    • ‘Watch Space Cowboys and you'll see Donald Sutherland mugging for the camera and stealing just about every scene that he's in.’
    • ‘She sits at her cluttered desk in her study, exhaling smoke, tossing Budweisers, reading poems and mugging for the camera.’
    • ‘Connery seems to take every opportunity to mug for the camera.’
    • ‘While he's wrestling a croc to the ground, he's mugging to the camera for all he's worth.’
    • ‘The perfectly coifed doc on duty mugged coyly for the cameras as he explained the medical emergency.’
    • ‘Moss' presence only serves to distract and irritate as he mugs for the camera and throws around unnecessary voice-overs describing his own actions.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘In fact, the four whales often seem to be mugging for the cameras.’
    • ‘Murphy mugs for the camera and basically plays himself.’
    • ‘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.’

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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Amanda said: ‘Drugs are a mug's game and Andrew felt the only way of staying clean was to move out of Selby.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Predictions are a mug's game, and everybody knows it.’
      • ‘But investing is a long-term business, and trying to second-guess short-term swings 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Whether times make the politician, or individuals drive events, forecasting a wannabe PM's likely legacy 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.’
      • ‘Gambling is a mug's game (but investing in gaming businesses can be lucrative)!’
      • ‘Debating the defects of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is, in many respects, a mug's game.’
      • ‘Furthermore, these truths are knowable only a posteriori - armchair chemistry is a mug's game.’
      • ‘On this one, it's monumentally easy to see in advance that arguing about what happened in that contest is a mug's game.’
      • ‘Arguing in this fashion that capitalism doesn't ‘deliver the goods’ is a mug's game.’
      • ‘‘But trying to second-guess Philip Green is a mug's game,’ he said.’

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’
    • ‘Mugging up on money matters might sound boring, but being financially savvy will save you thousands of pounds during your lifetime.’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is the duty of any professional musician to mug up on all aspects of the subject.’
    study, get up, read up, cram
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 19th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

mug

/mʌɡ/