1. in context of physical features.
(a) [late 18C] (US Und.) the nose.
(b) [18C+] the human face.
(c) [early 19C] by metonymy, the individual.
(d) [19C+] the mouth.
(e) [mid-19C] the head.
(f) [mid-19C] (UK Und.) a coin (which bears a monarch’s face on one side).
(g) [mid-19C–1960s] a grimace.
(h) [late 19C+] a picture of a person, esp. in police records; thus mug book below.
2. a fig. container [i.e. one into whom one can ‘pour’ any nonsense].
(a) [19C+] a fool, a dupe, orig. the victim of a corrupt card-game; thus mug’s game n.
(b) [late 19C+] anyone not directly involved in the underworld, thus, de facto, a gullible fool, a (potential) victim.
3. a lit. container.
(a) [mid-19C] a pipe.
(b) [mid-19C–1950s] (US) a chamberpot [abbr. member mug under member n.1 ].
4. in context of violence.
(a) [mid-19C–1960s] (US Und.) a strong hold placed on a victim when robbing them, usu. an arm lock or a chokehold.
(b) [mid-19C+] (US, also mug man) a thug, a violent person, a crude loutish person [mug v.1 (2a)].
5. as a person.
(a) [late 19C+] a person, irrespective of character.
(b) [20C+] used affectionately as a direct address.
(c) [1980s] (US black/campus) a very attractive person.
(d) [1980s+] (US black) a euph. for motherfucker n.
(e) [1990s+] (Irish) a sulky person.
(f) [1990s+] (US campus) a friend, partner or acquaintance.
6. [1900s–50s] (US) a police officer or detective; a railroad police officer.
[late 19C] a young victim of a confidence trick.
[1930s+] (Aus.) an unpleasantly conceited, smug person.
[1910s] (US tramp) a (portrait) photographer.
1. [20C+] (US police/Und., also mug file) a book of pictures used to help police in keeping records of known criminals.
2. [1930s+] a collection of photographs of prominent people.
[late 19C] (UK Und.) a confidence trickster.
[1920s+] (Aus.) a police officer, the inference is of ignorance and stolidity.
[1930s–50s] a street photographer.
1. [late 19C] a confidence trickster.
2. [late 19C] one who tours the streets late at night in search of drunken men who can be robbed.
[1940s+] (Aus.) a contemptuous description, i.e. a stupid, gullible, flashy show-off.
see sense 4b above.
[1910s] plain, unattractive.
see mug shot n.
[mid-19C+] a sucker in any game of chance or at a racecourse; also attrib.
see mug’s game n.
see separate entry.
see separate entry.
[1930s+] (orig. US) to take a picture of a prisoner for identification; thus mug-shooter n., a police photographer.
see under ticker n.1
[late 19C] a con-man, one who tricks gullible victims.
[late 19C] of a confidence trickster, to ensnare a victim.
[early–mid-19C] to make faces, e.g. of a clown or comedian; thus mug-cutter n.
[mid-19C] to take a drink.
see hold one’s gob under gob n.1
[2010s] (US campus) to scowl.
[2010s] foolish, treated like a fool.
[1920s–60s] (US tramp) to wash one’s face.
[mid-19C–1940s] to throttle.
[1910s] to be quiet, esp. as imper.
[mid-19C] (UK Und.) a ‘straight’ or (supposedly) guileless face.
[mid-19C] to run off, to leave quickly; esp. as excl. stall your mug! go away!
[mid-19C] (UK Und.) to let anyone see one’s face, to reveal oneself.
[1940s+] an excl. used in sporting matches when the winners of the previous game tell the losers to start the next contest or game.
SE in slang uses
[early 18C] a cheap tavern.