Main definitions of mug in US English:

: mug1mug2

mug1

nounPlural mugs

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

    • ‘Rose stood before you, holding out two mugs of steaming hot chocolate.’
    • ‘Antonio pulled mugs from the cupboard, then handed me the cake plates.’
    • ‘The teacher lifted her empty coffee mug and headed to the door.’
    • ‘Then she hands us each a plastic travel mug full of coffee.’
    • ‘A visibly chastened man, holding a chipped mug of tea, Sven duly confirmed his Englishness.’
    • ‘I plunked the mugs on the table and sat across from my best friend.’
    • ‘Nathan carefully set his own mug in the sink before stalking toward the same door Benny had just entered.’
    • ‘"Thanks," I replied as he placed a steaming mug of black coffee in front of me.’
    • ‘Gaston got up and handed her a mug of cider.’
    • ‘One man sat alone, nursing his half-empty mug of beer.’
    • ‘We all get big ceramic mugs of hot tea.’
    • ‘When she tilts the mug to her lips, however, nothing comes out.’
    • ‘Lan takes a sip from the mug in front of him, which contains weak coffee.’
    • ‘I watched quietly as he set the jug to boiling and retrieved two mugs from a cupboard under the bench.’
    • ‘I smiled secretly to myself as I pulled out two mugs from the cupboard.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Jack was cleaning pewter beer mugs behind the bar.’
    • ‘The waitress hustled back nearly out of breath and placed a large white mug on their table.’
    • ‘Two pewter mugs banged down in front of us, spilling liquid.’
    beaker, cup
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The contents of a mug.
      ‘a large mug of tea vanished in a single gulp’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The man released him roughly and went to sit down again while Betty poured a mug of beer from a container at the back.’
      • ‘First, drink two mugs full of Earl Gray tea that you've let steep for far too long.’
      • ‘The young man was reading a paperback novel and sipping a steaming mug of hot, black coffee.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 warmth of the fire and mug of mead were lulling him to sleep.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A mug of tea and a ham sandwich were very welcome.’
      • ‘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'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.’
      • ‘I dumped the rest of the mug in the sink and rinsed it out.’
      • ‘Just had some muruku and a mug of lemon honey drink.’
  • 2informal A person's face.

    • ‘She asks to leave the room so she doesn't have to see his ugly mug and feigns drying tears with a handkerchief.’
    • ‘What matters in America, is how well you stick your ugly mug on the television 24 hours a day.’
    • ‘It is kinda funny right now, as my ugly mug does adorn one page of a popular calendar.’
    • ‘I just thought I wouldn't have to look at your ugly mug again for a while.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I didn't want his mug on the front page of my site.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And for over a year, I had a great big picture of my ugly mug up at the top of the main index page.’
    • ‘All they are interested in doing is getting their ugly mugs on the 6 o'clock news.’
    • ‘I hope you'll be able to show some footage and not just our ugly mugs looking across the Atlantic at you.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They wore black robes similar to the Mors but they didn't have hoods to cover their ugly mugs.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘Stalin's grave is also nearby - a featureless slab of gray marble, with a bust of his ugly mug stuck on top.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The terrorists haven't got the coverage to unmask their ugly mugs, because basically they are a bunch of cowards.’
    • ‘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.’
    face, features, countenance, physiognomy
    View synonyms
  • 3British informal A stupid or gullible person.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    fool, simpleton, innocent, dupe, gull
    View synonyms
  • 4US informal A hoodlum or thug.

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

verbmugs, mugging, mugged

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

    ‘he was mugged by three men who stole his bike’
    • ‘A couple of nights ago, while I was walking from my car to my apartment, I was mugged and assaulted.’
    • ‘During their three-day trip, two members of the delegation were mugged at gunpoint on the streets of Memphis.’
    • ‘Aboud said that although businesses have security, shoppers were regularly being mugged on the city streets.’
    • ‘Detectives say a number of thieves have tried - unsuccessfully - to mug undercover officers.’
    • ‘An evil pair of thugs mugged a blind man - then threw him into a canal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘"Anyone would think we were mugging old ladies," said a spokesman.’
    • ‘Two thugs mugged a blind woman and threatened to kill her guide dog.’
    • ‘A grieving pensioner was mugged by a violent thug on the way to her sister-in-law's funeral.’
    • ‘Two teenagers were mugged at knifepoint as they walked home after a night out in Trowbridge.’
    • ‘If you mug an old lady you should get 20 years -- end of story.’
    • ‘We are always reading about old people being mugged on the streets and in their own homes.’
    • ‘A Swindon man was forced to hand over £100 when he was mugged in a public toilet.’
    • ‘Burglary, forgery, mugging old ladies, you name it, I did it all.’
    • ‘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 famous Japanese couple visiting as tourists get accosted and mugged on the streets of New York.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I'd almost been mugged once, by several punks in a park.’
    • ‘Her selfless act of bravery led to the conviction of two girls who had mugged a pensioner.’
    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’
    • ‘While he's wrestling a croc to the ground, he's mugging to the camera for all he's worth.’
    • ‘In fact, the four whales often seem to be mugging for the cameras.’
    • ‘Every scene made me cringe as he mugged for the camera and offered those interminable witty retorts with that knowing gleam in his eye.’
    • ‘There's plenty of fun on set, too, as the cast and crew quickly take to mugging for Pellerin's camera crew.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Expect lots of silly dancing around and mugging to camera.’
    • ‘Connery seems to take every opportunity to mug for the camera.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Barbara Harris as Blanche plays her role as camp, mugging for the camera and acting like a dingbat the whole way though.’
    • ‘Watch Space Cowboys and you'll see Donald Sutherland mugging for the camera and stealing just about every scene that he's in.’
    • ‘His wacky personality seems anything but morbid in the film, where he mugs for the camera and tells funny stories about his life.’
    • ‘As for the video, I watched it once, it is 15 minutes of the band mugging for the camera.’
    • ‘Murphy mugs for the camera and basically plays himself.’
    • ‘Porno actors do not mug for the camera; they maintain a fiction of authenticity.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He mugs relentlessly for the camera, at one point sporting a bowtie pasta on his lip like a mustache.’
    • ‘She sits at her cluttered desk in her study, exhaling smoke, tossing Budweisers, reading poems and mugging 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Arguing in this fashion that capitalism doesn't ‘deliver the goods’ 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Gambling is a mug's game (but investing in gaming businesses can be lucrative)!’
      • ‘Furthermore, these truths are knowable only a posteriori - armchair chemistry is 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In truth, I declined the assignment because I knew that to write about men of power, in power, 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.’’
      • ‘Debating the defects of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is, in many respects, 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.’
      • ‘Predictions are a mug's game, and everybody knows it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘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

/məɡ//məɡ/

Main definitions of mug in US English:

: mug1mug2

mug2

verbmugs, 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’
    • ‘Mugging up on money matters might sound boring, but being financially savvy will save you thousands of pounds during your lifetime.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    study, get up, read up, cram
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 19th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

mug

/məɡ//məɡ/