Green’s Dictionary of Slang

mug shot n.

also mug photo, mug picture
[mug n.1 (1h)]

1. a picture taken by the police and used for criminal records.

[US]Marion Dly Mirror (OH) 22 Jan. 5/4: Phillips objected strongly to having his ‘mug shot,’ as the police say, and it was after a struggle [...] that the photographer was able to locate the prisoner’s face with the camera.
[US] cited in Wentworth & Flexner DAS (1975) 3491: The police passed around a mug shot of Willie.
[US]H. McCoy Corruption City 60: Cicero showed her a mug picture of Jimmy Kchop.
[UK]R.L. Pike Mute Witness (1997) 14: Not quite the same picture as the mug-shots in the police folder.
[US]E. Bunker No Beast So Fierce 15: He was probably going for fingerprinting and a mug photo.
[SA]M. Matshoba ‘Pilgrimage to Makana’ Call Me Not A Man 93: Their eyes told me they already knew. Perhaps from a mugshot they had picked up from the pass department.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 23: [The face] didn’t match the mug shots, not even close.
[US]K. Anderson Night Dogs 149: [H]e knew most of the others. Their mugshots were in the shoebox in the car.
[UK]Guardian Guide 14–20 Aug. 21: At the police station you’ll find a series of mug shots.
[US]Hip-Hop Connection Jan.–Feb. 32: Spendin a night in the clink and posing for mug shots.
[US]J. Stahl Pain Killers 47: Riffing through the prisoner files, scoping out a ninety-seven-tear-old’s mug shot.
[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 324: ‘You know these guys?’ Benton asked as he dropped a pair of mug shot blowups on the table.
[Aus] A. Bergen ‘Dread Fellow Churls’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] She picked up one of the mug shots from the table.
[US]C. Hiaasen Squeeze Me 109: Angie [...] showed her a mug shot of Keever Bracco.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[US]T. Runyon In For Life 60: Posing before the camera for my ‘mug shot’ picture.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 129: Would Ah Toy be willing to come down to headquarters to look through some mugshot books?
[US]A. Steinberg Running the Books 42: An old-fashioned mug shot number sign.

3. synon., in non-police work, e.g. a publicity photograph.

[US]E. Grogan Ringolevio 81: Kenny would [...] kiss the mug shots which accompanied their [ie. journalists] bylines.
[UK]‘John le Carré’ Honourable Schoolboy 136: ‘Front page mugshot, banner headlines.’.
[Aus]M. Bail Holden’s Performance (1989) 269: Not only mugshots of Mr Frank McBee, MP, scratching himself like Napoleon at state functions.
[UK]Guardian G2 27 July 13: Each one of his paintings is a mugshot of a pliable surface.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 22 Mar. 11: She laughs off a 20-year-old mugshot of herself pasted on to the front page.
[US]J. Stahl I, Fatty 206: Who’d have expected to see Pathé’s pointy kisser on anything but a mug shot?

4. attrib. use of sense 3.

Huffington Post 31 Aug. [Internet] There’s a new hot mugshot guy taking the fashion world by storm.