Green’s Dictionary of Slang

mug n.1

also mugg
[apparently from the 18C drinking mugs, bearing a grotesque human face; Liberman (2008 164b) notes Scots mudgeon, a grimace]

1. in context of physical features.

(a) (US) the nose.

[US] ‘Flash Language’ in Confessions of Thomas Mount 18: Nose, mugg.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 18 Mar. 2/2: [S]mashed ‘smellers,’ busted ‘bugles’ and mutilated ‘mugs’.

(b) the human face.

[UK]J. Gay Trivia (1716) Bk III 46: Thy ruin’d Nose falls level with thy Face, Then shall thy Wife thy loathsome Kiss disdain, And wholesome Neighbours from thy Mug refrain.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Mug, the Face. Cant.
[UK]G. Parker Life’s Painter 166: Face. Mug.
[UK]G. Colman Yngr John Bull V ii: Och! bless your mug!
[Ire]Spirit of Irish Wit 102: He gives him a dub with his daddle upon de snotter-box and brought de Claret about his mug.
[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 14: The Porpus kept guard / O’er his beautiful mug.
[UK]F.F. Cooper Elbow-Shakers! I i: Yet scarce had I fond hope began to hug, / When you stept in, and show’d your ugly mug.
[UK] ‘Conversation Between a Flea and a Musquitto’ in Quid 264: Musquitto he got handsome face, Flea got ugly mug.
[UK] ‘Charming Mot’ in Nobby Songster 40: I own that her mug is attractive.
True Flash (NY) 4 Dec. n.p.: [N]apping it in return bang on the mug.
[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) 4 Feb. 2/2: The mugs of both combatants bespoke their handy work.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 12 July 1/3: Trainer renewing his visitations to Thacker’s mug.
[Ind]Delhi Sketch Bk 1 Oct. 61/2: [H]ungry Counsel with lugubrious mug.
N.Y. Pick (NY) 29 Apr. n.p.: Spend your evening at White’s Minstrels, — One glimpse of Charley’s ‘mug’ will give you ‘fits’.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Ask Mamma 289: I am moch pleased, sare, with the expression of your mog. I tink, sare, you are de ’andsomest man I never had de pleasure of lookin’ at.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 25/1: He soon returned with a smile on his ‘mug,’ indicating success.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 21 Sept. n.p.: Two or three other ‘dips’ whose ‘mugs’ were strange to me.
[UK]C. Hindley Life and Times of James Catnach 138: A broad grin on his black mug.
[UK]Cremorne III 81: She’s an ugly old mug.
[US]Cincinnati Enquirer 27 May 10/3: This is the way a New York paper roasts an association umpire: ‘What on earth makes Kelly wear a mask while umpiring? It would be impossible to spoil that mug of his, even if his breath did fail to change the course of the ball, which is hardly probable.’.
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 8 May 7/1: From the Slang Dictionary — The jug-ular vein is near the ‘mug’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 2 May 6/4: And now the Right Rev. Henry Bath, President of the Wesleyan Conference (we think that’s all of him), stands a good chance for a bath in a gutter next time he shows his sanctimonious mug out St. Kilda way.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 16 Aug. 10/2: Yes, he knocks about all day with that dirthy mug on him, an’ he knocks about all night as well.
[US]S. Crane Maggie, a Girl of the Streets (2001) 39: Git onto deh mug on deh blokie.
[UK]H. Nevinson ‘Sissero’s Return’ in P.J. Keating Working Class Stories of the 1890s (1971) 63: Sissero ‘ad a mug almost as good as a white ’un to look at.
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘Nemesis and the Candy Man’ in Voice of the City (1915) 121: I haven’t seen yer mug on any of the five-cent cigar boxes.
[US]Sat. Eve. Post 14 Mar. 11: That mug of his would stop an eight-day clock.
[US]Ade ‘The New Fable of the Private Agitator’ in Ade’s Fables 4: I want to pull Mugs at all the scared Country Girls peeking out of the Wagon Beds.
[UK]Darewski & Wimperis [perf. Vesta Tilley] A Bit of a Blighty One 🎵 I think about my dugout / Where I dare not poke me mug out.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 317: Bloom was talking and talking with John Wyse and he quite excited with his dunducketymudcoloured mug on him and his old plumeyes rolling about.
[US]C. McKay Home to Harlem 101: Come on, Mistah Bag. Le’s tail along back to Harlem. Leave black woman ’lone wif her gin and ugly mug.
[US]H. Roth Call It Sleep (1977) 59: I coulda spit in his mug, de donkey!
[UK]K. Amis letter 10 Feb. in Leader (2000) 42: Looking foward to seeing your Ugly mugg next Satuday therll be a Hot time in the old Town then.
[UK]P. Bowman Beach Red 41: I’m walking along and all of a sudden I come mug to mug with two sons of bitches.
[UK]A. Sillitoe ‘The Disgrace of Jim Scarfedale’ Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (1960) 127: He’d always had a bit of pain screwed into his mug.
[UK]F. Norman Guntz 218: This right darling bird took a shine to old ugly mug.
[UK] in P. Fordham Inside the Und. 88: He doesn’t know my ugly mug.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 115: Show them two mugs, including yours, and strike out.
[UK]K. Lette Foetal Attraction (1994) 215: You’ll be famous. Get your mug on the front page.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 120/1: mug n. 2 the face.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skinny Dip 111: The woman herself had a fairly spooky mug [...] like a halloween mask.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] The media splashed my mug across the television and newspapers.

(c) by metonymy, the individual.

[UK] ‘Crib and the Black’ Egan Boxiana I 481: I’m down upon Crib’s mug, Bill, he’s sure to win the day.
[US]Ely’s Hawk & Buzzard (NY) Mar. 22 1/3: This old mug, viz. Fanny Henry, she that is made up of all the scrappings off the bowl of nastiness.

(d) the mouth.

[UK]‘Peter Corcoran’ ‘King Tims the First’ in Fancy 27: Speak, Mrs. Tims; open thy mug, my dear; / Mouths here are made to speak.
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker I 165: Hold your mug, you old nigger.
[UK]Era (London) 26 Jan. 10/3: His left [...] went well home on Weston’s mug.
[US]N.Y. Clipper 18 Mar. 3/4: Bricktop [...] returned with a smash on the potato trap, otherwise the mug.
[Scot]Montrose [...] Rev. 29 July 6/2: From the slang of the prize ring we get ‘mug’, the mouth; ‘dominoes’, the teeth.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[US] letter in Silber & Sievens Yankee Correspondence (1996) 153: I told him to dry up or I would smash his mug for him.
[Scot]Dundee Courier 26 Feb. 7/3: Here I am in this cursed old garison, without a drop to wet my mug.
[US]E.W. Townsend Chimmie Fadden 53: ‘Hold yer mug,’ I says.
[UK]Marvel 15 Dec. 589: Shut your mug!
[US]Phila. Eve. Bulletin 5 Oct. 40/5: Any one can learn enough of the [criminal] vocabulary to make himself understood. But to speak the language is more difficult. It is spoken from the corner of one’s ‘mug,’ with appropriate movement of the eyebrows and hands, palms down.
[Scot]Hotspur 11 Jan. 47: Shut your mug, you hee-hawing Homer!
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]T. Thursday ‘Big Squawk’ in Smashing Detective Mag. 15 Apr. 🌐 All you have to do is keep your mug shut and go blind.
[UK](con. 1950s) J. Byrne Slab Boys [film script] 122: Shut yur ugly mug, you!

(e) the head.

[US]W.G. Simms Border Beagles (1855) 336: Butt Bull, and get the worst of it. See whose head’s the hardest, you b—h, and be off with your mug broken.

(f) (UK Und.) a coin (which bears a monarch’s face on one side).

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 87/1: Having to ‘sling’ all, if not more than our profits, to those harpies of ‘coppers’ who’ll never leave us [...] so long as there’s a ‘mug’ to squeeze out of us.

(g) a grimace.

[UK]E.R. Lancaster Manager’s Daughter in Oxberry Budget of Plays I (1844) 110/1: Who does he suppose was to cut comic mugs before noblemen, without being paid double sals?
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 109/1: Many were the queer ‘mugs’ put on by those who had been ‘gone through’ [...] Artful..shook with suppressed laughter at the victim’s bewildered and doleful phiz.
[Ire]J.M. Synge Playboy of the Western World (1979) II 51: He’d be [...] making mugs at his own self in the bit of a glass we had hung on the wall.
D.H. Lawrence Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd I 26: Oh, indeed! You think I’ve got to pull a mug to look decent? You’d have to pull a big ’un, at that rate .
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Coonardoo 169: The obstinate little mug Mollie had drawn her face into.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 809: mug – The face; a grimace.

(h) a picture of a person, esp. in police records; thus mug book below.

[US]Lantern (N.O.) 9 July 2: He had his mug taken in fireman’s clothes.
[US]Salt Lake Herald (UT) 20 July 3/1: A man who has ‘served time’ behind the bars, and whose villainous looking ‘mug’ adorns the rogue’s gallery of every pentitentiary.
[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) 17: Then I got to go to a picture garage an’ get my mug taken for the Niles Electric rogues’ gallery.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 187: My ‘record’, my ‘mug’ (picture) and my Bertillon measurements were in the gallery.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Red Wind’ in Red Wind 1946 17: Even if we don’t have his mug here we’ll make him in hours.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US] ‘Burglar Cops’ in C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 115: I will have to [...] take someone down to headquarters for his mug.
[US]‘Blackie’ Audett Rap Sheet 165: Right behind him on the wall, along with a bunch of other mugs, was my own picture, staring me square in the face.
[US]C. Himes Big Gold Dream 125: She had looked at the mugs of criminals until her head swam.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 21: He couldn’t make a deathbed mug ID.
[US]P. Cornwell Hornet’s Nest 19: The duty captain lifted another plastic-sheathed page of hard-boiled mugs up to the light.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 210: I want to see everything he’s got on the Matthews boy. Mugs, crib sheet, anything he can find.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Birthday 117: They’ve got my mug in a thousand copshops.

2. a fig. container [i.e. one into whom one can ‘pour’ any nonsense].

(a) a fool, a dupe, orig. the victim of a corrupt card-game; thus mug’s game n.

[Ire]Spirit of Irish Wit 170: ‘Oh,’ says Pat, ’boderation you blundering mug’.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 336: Old fusty mug went out upon business.
[UK]R. Nicholson Cockney Adventures 6 Jan. 78: A rare tippet here, Bill – a guinea to a shilling – pipe the tile – twig the mug – stall you beggar, stall.
[UK]Paul Pry (London 15 Aug. n.p.: The lady fancied she’d got a ‘mug’ a swell who was somewhat green at the game. Fred thought her equally innocent,.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor III/2 193: We sometimes have a greenhorn wants to go out pitching with us – a ‘mug,’ we calls them.
[UK] ‘Autobiog. of a Thief’ in Macmillan’s Mag. (London) XL 500: I was taken by two pals (companions) to an orchard to cop (steal) some fruit, me being a mug (inexperienced) at the game.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 25 Sept. 13/1: Young Weiss [...] has arrived in Brisbane again after a successful tour among the Northern ‘mugs’.
[UK]H. Newton ‘Bai Jove’ 🎵 No, industry isn’t our forte, / We to no sort of toil devoted, / Like those ‘mugs’ of the working-man sort.
[UK]E.W. Rogers [perf. Marie Lloyd] G’arn Away 🎵 Yer think yer’ve got me for a mug, well I’m sure, / Strike me up a mulberry, what d’yer take me for, Eh!
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Stiffner & Jim’ in Roderick (1972) 124: He held that the population of the world was divided into two classes — one was the spielers and the other was the mugs.
[Aus]W.A. Sun. Times (Perth) 12 May 1/1: A gilt-edged mug was recently driven by ‘Sport’ to more joy than he anticipated [...] the gudgeon, after being drugged and scaled for £25, was deposited in the waiting cab.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 81: I’m simply doing this for a syndicate of mugs.
[US]C. M’Govern By Bolo and Krag 19: All the mugs thought I couldn’t play poker and buck the monte man’s game worth thirty cents.
[Aus]L. Stone Jonah 77: She told me her age was five-and-twenty, / Cash in the bank of course she’d plenty, / I like a lamb believed it all, / I was an M.U.G.
[NZ]Truth (Wellington, NZ) 6 Apr. 7/5: She looked round for fresh mugs to conquer.
[UK]W. Sickert New Age 19 Mar. 631: His band of ‘wraughters’ or ‘rorters’ [...] whose duty it is to jostle the ‘mug’.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Bulldog Drummond 118: Last night we were done down, trampled on, had for mugs by a crowd of dirty blackguards.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 39: He has nothing to sit down on, sir. — He has nowhere to put it, you mug.
[US]W. Winchell Your Broadway & Mine 13 Nov. [synd. col.] Who’s the mug that’s trying to get me in wrong?
[US]C.B. Yorke ‘Snowbound’ in Gangster Stories Oct. n.p.: I didn’t take my gun from the mug’s back for a moment.
[US]N. Davis ‘Kansas City Flash’ in Ruhm Hard-Boiled Detective (1977) 71: You mugg, are you makin’ this up?
[UK]Thieves Slang ms list from District Police Training Centre, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwicks 7: Mug: Victim (or easy victim).
[Aus]Queenslander (Brisbane) 2 July 4/4: So, out to crop the wisdom I did sow, And with much daring took a ‘gay’ in tow. / But this was all the harvest that I reaped, / I touch the ‘mug’ - he squeals - and in I go!
[UK]G. Kersh Night and the City 10: I wouldn’t be such a mug as to go into any business I didn’t know.
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 174: You’re a mug. [...] Let the capitalists fight their own wars.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 26: I don’t want Junior to be a mug like me.
[Aus](con. 1941) E. Lambert Twenty Thousand Thieves 108: Now don’t think I’m going to start off again about what a mug you were to join up so so soon, son.
[UK]F. Norman Fings II i: Well, in Nineteen Thirty-two I leaves the smalltime to the mugs.
[UK]Galton & Simpson ‘Going Down’ Hancock’s Half-Hour [TV script] I may look a mug, but I know how to use myself. (Clenches his fist).
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Yarns of Billy Borker 59: These tipsters gradually build up a list of people who are mugs enough to pay for tips.
[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 31: He is not going to be such a mug as to tie himself down.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 105: You mugs / what are you.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Godson 38: Even the mugs and the drunks didn’t want to hang around [...] in the cold.
[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 132: ‘Garn yer prize aleck! You frigwitted mug! You couldn’t ride a bloody Bondi tram’.
[UK]G. Burn Happy Like Murderers 87: The mugs could look after all that.
[UK]Indep. Mag. 22 Jan. 14: But if we all thought they were going to be any different we’re the mugs, aren’t we?
[NZ]A. Duff Jake’s Long Shadow 210: Go and converse with your God, ya religion-struck mug.
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Zero at the Bone [ebook] [U]nless you had the inside word, [...] knew all of the trainers and jockeys, then you were a mug, destined to lose.

(b) anyone not directly involved in the underworld, thus, de facto, a gullible fool, a (potential) victim.

[US]St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 3 Dec. 17/7: ‘A mug’ is any kind of citizen. [...] It has a slightly contemptuous meaning .
[UK]O.C. Malvery Soul Market 290: A few of the men — and these were the better dressed — were professional ‘tale-pitchers’ [...] went off every morning to the West End of London in search of plunder, or ‘mug-finding,’ as they called their profession.
[UK]Wodehouse Gentleman of Leisure Ch. xvii: ‘That’s the worst of it,’ he admitted, ‘the having to seem a mug at the game.’.
[US]Wash. Post 21 Jan. 2/7: Mug – Usually a citizen.
[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 332: mug : Anyone not of the Underworld.
[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 89: What a cissy poofter mug!
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 26 Apr. 45: In the end all the mugs start earwiggin’ and the store jacks fall . . . shit, man, it was the best go you ever saw and we had to stall.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 87: It was kinda convenient for him that a lotta mugs didn’t know his real moniker either.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 120/1: mug n. 1a foolish, gullible or naive person.

3. a lit. container.

(a) a pipe.

[UK]W.H. Smith ‘Thieves’s Chaunt’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 120: There is a nook in the boozing ken, / Where many a mug I fog.

(b) (US) a chamberpot [abbr. member mug under member n.1 ].

in Beer Civil War Letters 42: He died very easily, as nearly all do that dies with the Diarhea. He died while on the mug and so easy that they hardly knowed that he was gone [HDAS].
[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.

4. in context of violence.

(a) (US Und.) a strong hold placed on a victim when robbing them, usu. an arm lock or a chokehold.

[UK] Sessions Papers 26 Nov. n.p.: I apprehended Roberts [...] he said. ‘You want me for putting the mug on, do you? I will put the b-y mug on you.’ [...] mug is slang used by thieves; it means garrotting [DU].
[US]E.W. Townsend Sure 46: Before a ‘mug’ meant a man, it meant de kind of strangle holt dat foot-pads give from behind, or de elbow in de neck, from in front.
[US]H. Leverage ‘Dict. Und.’ in Flynn’s mag. cited in Partridge DU (1949).
[US]C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 323: Mug, A crushing arm-lock.

(b) (US, also mug man) a thug, a violent person, a crude loutish person [mug v.1 (2a)].

[US]H.L. Williams Joaquin 130: Those three ugly mugs with him are of the band, I’ll bet.
[UK]Leeds Times 8 June 6/4: His father, Old Pepe, is a right down ‘ugly mug’ [...] when he gets a notion there’s wrong done him.
[UK]Oakland Trib. (CA) 17 Sept. 10/1: ‘See ’em [...] there’ mugs for you [...] hard characters [...] thieves from the first ward — fellows that rob’.
[US]S. Crane Maggie, a Girl of the Streets (2001) 20: Dere was a mug come in deh place deh odder day wid an idear he wus goin’ teh own deh place!
[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 50: He’s a tough mug, but he won’t hurt nobody if he’s treated right.
[US]Van Loan ‘Scrap Iron’ in Taking the Count 213: I’m supposed to be a dead tough mug and hard game.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice in Hamilton Men of the Und. 296: The ‘mug that had a chance and couldn’t make good’.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Spanish Blood’ in Spanish Blood (1946) 33: Some mugg’s been tailin’ me.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Social Error’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 453: Bad Basil Valentine is one dead tough mug.
[US]Z.N. Hurston ‘Story in Harlem Sl.’ in Novels and Stories (1995) 1009: Mug Man: a small time thug.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 35: If that big Argentine mug gives us anything at all, we’ll all make a bank full of dough.
[US]J. Archibald ‘Klump a la Carte’ Popular Det. July 🌐 Willie knew that Maxie’s mustache was a fake, too, and that the signs of age around the mugg’s ears were also misleading.
[US]M. Spillane One Lonely Night 51: They’re the toughest mugs in the world.
[US]R. Prather Scrambled Yeggs 6: He looked past me to the two muggs at my back: one, big, red-faced, with the gun prodding my spine.
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 88: Ah, get lost, you mug.
[Aus]K. Willey Boss Drover 33: He was fairly sure he could beat Butler. ‘He’s only a bush mug,’ he said.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 260: This form of mug seems to have given rise to to mug, meaning to attack someone, especially by applying a strangle hold; a mug, meaning a tough guy.
[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 121: A red-and-black leather jacket straight out of a Michael Jackson video, one where Michael danced with all those dead mugs.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Mud Crab Boogie (2013) [ebook] Just as long as they don’t think I’m some kind of silly big mug that goes around looking for fights all the time.

5. as a person.

(a) (also mugg) a person, irrespective of character.

[UK] ‘’Arry at a Political Pic-Nic’ in Punch 11 Oct. 180/1: I preferred pecking and prowling, and spotting mugs making love.
[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden Explains 63: Where’s de dentiss mug?
[US]J. London Road 202: I did my best. I told a ‘story’ that would have melted the heart of any mug.
[US]F. Packard Adventures of Jimmie Dale (1918) II xi: Say, he’s one of de richest mugs in New York, ain’t he?
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 301: Bloke — a fellow; same as ‘stiff,’ ‘mug,’ ‘bum,’ etc.
[Aus]L. Lower Here’s Luck 10: ‘You know that tripe-faced mug Oscar Winthrop?’.
[US]C. Himes ‘Prison Mass’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 162: He could draw pretty good now, as good as a lot of those mugs who got big money for it.
M. Fulcher ‘Believe Me’ in Afro-American (Baltimore, MD) 6 Oct. 12/3: Reports would have you believe that a mugg named Malcolm Fulcher and a charming girl named Marion Hazzard have found things in common.
[Aus]A. Gurney Bluey & Curley 14 Mar. [synd. cartoon strip] What’s all the rumpus in here you mugs?
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 66: Don’t say a word if you catch these mugs stealing.
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 115: The moment Teddy saw the mug going into action he rushed up and, at the critical moment, jumped on the mug and downed him.
[Aus]K. Gilbert Living Black 241: I knew they were rotten English starlings that some pommy mug brought out to Australia.
[UK]A. Payne ‘Get Daley!’ Minder [TV script] 190: Some poor mug on the NHS will have to wait a few more weeks before he can get seen to.
[US]College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) 🌐 Mug (mugg) [...] 4. (noun) A character; a person.
[Aus]Bug (Aus.) Nov–Dec. 🌐 Who was that mug who coached Cronulla again?

(b) used affectionately as a direct address.

[US]J. London ‘Local Color’ Complete Short Stories (1993) I 695: Come on, you mugs! [...] Throw yer feet!
[Aus](con. 1944) L. Glassop Rats in New Guinea 178: Somebody’s gotta look after ya, ya mug.
[US](con. 1930s) R. Wright Lawd Today 77: ‘How you, mugs,’ a deep, bass voice boomed from down the stairs.
[UK](con. 1950s) J. Byrne Slab Boys [film script] 40: Comin’ through the door, ya mug.

(c) (US black/campus) a very attractive person.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 6: mug – one who is very attractive ‘There’s a new mug in my class’.

(d) (US black) a euph. for motherfucker n.

[US]G. Tate Flyboy in the Buttermilk (1992) 35: My nuts go crazy just thinking about a mug doing that many. [Ibid.] 36: I tell you, though, y’all were rag-ged-y as a mug on that tour.
[US]G. Tate ‘Public Enemy’ in Flyboy in the Buttermilk (1992) 127: Several sisters I know who otherwise like the mugs wonder whassup with that too.
[US]G. Smitherman Black Talk.

(e) (Irish) a sulky person.

[Ire]Share Slanguage.

(f) (US campus) a friend, partner or acquaintance.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr.

6. (US) a police officer or detective; a railroad police officer.

[US]H. Hapgood Autobiog. of a Thief 26 8: I’m only stealin’ for certain mugs (policemen) [...] so they can buy real estate.
[US]F.H. Tillotson How I Became a Detective 93: Mug – A detective.
[US]Wash. Post 11 Nov. Miscellany 3/4: The minions of the law [...] ‘cops,’ ‘mugs,’ ‘fly mugs,’ ‘bulls,’ ‘dicks’ (an abbreviation for detectives).
[US]A.J. Barr Let Tomorrow Come 149: You’re supposed to cut another caper as quick as you can so the mugs’ll have somethin’ to do chasin’ you.
[US]Pittsburgh Press (PA) 5 Dec. 18/3: He’s a mugg, a shamus, a private eye.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 159: mug a [p...] lain clothes man.
[US]E. Hunter ‘First Offense’ in Jungle Kids (1967) 10: ‘You won’t be able to see the faces of any of the bulls out there.’ ‘Who wants to see them mugs?’.

In derivatives

muglet (n.) [sfx -let]

a young victim of a confidence trick.

[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden Explains 27: Everyone of dose muglets had turned up his pants as far as mine.
[UK]Binstead & Wells Pink ’Un and Pelican 210: It ain’t until about half-past ten nex’ mornin’ that the poor young muglet goes to the bank to stop the cheque.

In compounds

mug aleck (n.) [smart aleck n.]

(Aus.) an unpleasantly conceited, smug person.

[Aus]L. Glassop We Were the Rats 81: The mug aleck prowls around at four o’clock each morning, looking for cows to milk.
[Aus](con. 1944) L. Glassop Rats in New Guinea 63: ‘Who was he?’ ‘I don’t remember. Some mug aleck.’.
mug and spoon (n.)

(N.Z. prison) two very close friends.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 120/1: mug and spoon n. two inmates who are close friends and spend much of their time together.
mug book (n.)

1. (US police/Und., also mug file) a book of pictures used to help police in keeping records of known criminals.

[US]C.L. Cullen More Ex-Tank Tales 85: I’d seen his mush in Byrne’s mug book.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 84: He laughed. ‘You in the pictures, chum?’ ‘Only in the kind they pin up in the post office.’ ‘See you in the mug book,’ he said, and walked away.
[US]A. Zugsmith Beat Generation 61: Dave concentrated on the mug book.
[US]R. Conot Rivers of Blood 320: [T]hey were following standard operating procedure of photographing all delinquents [...] and filing their pictures in “mug books”’.
[US]N. Thornburg Cutter and Bone (2001) 37: That’s not the problem. It’s the other — your refusal to go through our mug file or view a lineup.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 147: He closed the mug book and pushed it across the table.
[US]K. Scott Monster (1994) 198: A man had been robbed [...] and he had picked De and me out of a mug book as the robbers.
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Hollywood Fuck Pad’ in Destination: Morgue! (2004) 220: Take Donna Donahue around and show her mug books.

2. a collection of photographs of prominent people.

[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Mug book, a book published for prominent business and professional men who are induced by high pressure solicitors to vividly write about themselves with youthful photographs. They pay well for this blue book privilege.
bad mug (n.)

1. (Aus. prison) one who complains to excess ands thus reveals themselves a poor loser.

[Aus]‘No 35’ Argot in Simes DAUS 222: The victim who complains bellers (bellows) like a bad mug.
[Aus]Parramatta Jail Gloss. B. Moore (ed.) (2023) 48: bad mug person who makes mountain out of molehill.
Dly. Teleg. (Sydney) 15 Dec. 97: You did what tennis players do every time they throw a racquet or cuss. You behaved like a bad mug.

2. (N.Z. prison) a sinister character.

[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 251: Mug (n) ... 3. e.g. Bad — . Sinister or evil character.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 12/1: bad mug n. 1 a sinister or evil character.

3. (N.Z. prison) an inmate who has been targeted for a beating.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 12/1: bad mug n. 2 an inmate targeted for an assault.
mug-catcher (n.)

(UK Und.) a confidence trickster,, thus n. mug-catching.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 July 18/3: Now, among the London ‘swell mob’ and the ‘mug-catchers’ who infest English racecourses there are many staunch teetotallers and non-smokers.
[UK]Mirror of Life 9 June 14/2: Knew How to Work a Mug There are some sporting characters who profess to be adept at mug-catching, and pride' itemselves on their ability.
mug copper (n.) (also mug john) [copper n. (3)/john n.1 ]

(Aus.) a police officer, the inference is of ignorance and stolidity.

[Aus]Age (Melbourne) 10 May 15/3: When the police approached tlio crowd, including defendant, ran away, and one of the number called out, ‘Mug coppers’.
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 24 Apr. 5/8: Do not take any notice of those mug coppers; I’ll fix them up.
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 16 Dec. 6/4: You are a Rothbury basher and a mug copper.
[NZ] J. Cleary Long Shadow (1968) V 40: And I’m not going to be chucked out on my neck to let some bloody mug copper move in on it!
[UK]Partridge DU 455: mug John. A policeman : Australian: C.20.
[Aus]D. Niland Big Smoke 59: Pooh to you, you mug copper.
[Aus]A. Buzo Norm and Ahmed 31: Mind you, though, if a mug copper ever started pushing me around, I’d job him good and proper, no risk about that.
[US]J. Hepworth His Book 164: Apart from sharing the nationwide constabulary sensitivity to being called ‘mug coppers’ or ‘wallopers’, the Canberra fuzz are particularly touchy about two things.
Sydney City Hub 4 Apr. 5/2: My father was already doing some anticipatory laughing, as Roy went on, ‘and this mug copper comes up, and starts having a go at him.’.
mugfaker (n.) (also mug-fakir) [faker n.]

a street photographer.

[UK]‘George Orwell’ Down and Out in Complete Works I (1986) 176: These (omitting the ones that everyone knows) are some of the cant words now used in London: [...] A mugfaker – a street photographer.
[UK]X. Petulengro Romany Life 230: We were mug-fakirs in the light, buskers in the dark [...] The Romanys were the first people to work the old tin-type photo on the Continent after Daguerre.
[UK](con. 1934) W. Woodruff Beyond Nab End 86: He’d given up his job as a mug-faker.
mug-hunter (n.)

1. a confidence trickster.

[UK]Sportsman 18 Apr. 4/1: Notes on News [...] ‘[M]ug-hunters,’ whose presence is danger to a ‘flat’ and nuisance to any respectable man the world.
[UK]Sporting Times 20 Feb. 7/1: They developed into mere mug-hunters [...] waiting continually for a fresh youngster to show round the town [...] this disreputable band of aristocratic sharps.
[UK]Sporting Times 14 Feb. 5/4: A good run is reported from the Piccadilly Mug-hunters. View Halloa was called at the Criterion [etc.].

2. one who tours the streets late at night in search of drunken men who can be robbed.

[UK]J.W. Horsley Jottings from Jail 98: A mug-hunter, aged 24, left Millbank last Tuesday, after doing three months for a midnight theft.
mug lair (n.) [lair n.2 ]

(Aus.) a contemptuous description, i.e. a stupid, gullible, flashy show-off.

[Aus]L. Glassop We Were The Rats 146: Well, they’re singin’ an’ prayin’ an’ hallelujahin’ there for a while an’ a coupler mug lairs starts ter chip ’em.
[Aus]S.L. Elliott Rusty Bugles 25: You’re a mug lair.
[Aus]‘David Forrest’ Hollow Woodheap 13: ‘Mug lair!’ yelled the gentleman, ‘You might have killed a bloke!’.
[Aus]A. Chipper Aussie Swearers Guide 41: Mug Lair. (Also dead lair). A rich Old School description for a flashily dressed ignoramus.
[Aus]R. Beckett Dinkum Aussie Dict. 34: Lair: A flash bastard who plays up like billy-oh and dresses up like a pox doctor’s clerk. Normally anyone who is a lair is called a ‘mug lair.’.
[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 247: Cumberland [...] was considered in most racing circles a bit of a ponce. He most certainly was the worst type of mug lair.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 147: In the combination mug lair, the primary meaning of stupidity is extended into an insult and in this form the term is still used today.
mug list (n.)

(Aus.) a list of individuals considered as gullible and exploitable.

[Aus]J. McNeill Old Familiar Juice (1973) 59: bulla: You surer that now? You wouldn’t put me on yer mug list then?
mug man (n.)

see sense 4b above.

mug-mapped (adj.)

plain, unattractive.

[US]S. Ford Torchy, Private Sec. 81: While she ain’t what you’d call mug-mapped, she has one of these low-bridge noses and a lot of oily, dark red hair that she does in a weird fashion.
mug punter (n.) [punter n. (1)]

a sucker in any game of chance or at a racecourse; also attrib.

[Aus]Sydney Sportsman Surry Hills, NSW) 5 Dec. 5/1: The mug punter, who makes periodical trips to the course, is the party who supports pony racing. The regular habitue, who lives on the game doesn’t support it at all. He makes the game support him.
[Aus]Truth (Perth) 12 Feb. 12/6: The bitterness existing against the equine pilot evidently still rankles in the breast of the mug-punters‘ prad-picker, who, on Wednesday, once more brought his troubles under the public gaze by aiming missiles [...] at the prad-pilot as that individual sat on his horse.
[Aus]Mirror (Perth) 24 July 11/3: The mug punter is so well imbued with his own folly that it would be difficult to persuade him that there was anything foolish about his proceedings.
[Aus]Sporting Globe (Melbourne) 27 July 6/5: There are a whole lot of things that the ‘mug punter’ doesn’t know—that he doesn’t even suspect. Take ‘doping’ first.
[Aus]L. Glassop Lucky Palmer 41: There’ll always be plenty of mug punters to go round. Thank God.
[UK]‘Raymond Thorp’ Viper 21: A nasty little tout invited me to a near-beer joint [...] ‘Keep it for the mug punters, man’.
[Aus]J. Holledge Great Aus. Gamble 58: For all that the hard-headed businessman was in no danger of developing into a mug punter.
[UK]F. Norman Dead Butler Caper 18: Sounds like a mug punter to me.
[UK]A. Payne ‘Get Daley!’ Minder [TV script] 14: He’s not up to anything, he’s a mug punter.
[Aus]R.G. Barratt ‘Barrett’s Gone a-Punting’ in What Do You Reckon (1997) [ebook] And what could a mug punter like me do but bow to better judgment?
[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 45: So Dr William Bland [...] all-round genius and all-round mug-punter, again outlays his entire wippy on Mormon.
[UK]Observer Sport 12 Sept. 8: Best that the suits do not continue to bank on the mug punter mentality.
[UK]I. McDowall A Study in Death 271: I just wanted to let him know that I knew, see? That I wasn’t some clueless mug punter.
[Scot]T. Black Artefacts of the Dead [ebook] Streets full of mug punters rolling drunk to the bookie’s.
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Old Scores [ebook] Brendan, the deli owner, and an older man in a bus driver’s uniform uniform had discussed which shares were hot. It sounded to Swann like mug punters talking horses.
mug’s game (n.)

see separate entry.

mug shot (n.)

see separate entry.

mug-shoot (v.)

(orig. US) to take a picture of a prisoner for identification; thus mug-shooter n., a police photographer.

[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. Und. Sl. 34: Mug Shooter — Photographer.
[US] in S. Terkel Amer. Dreams (1982) 298: They did fingerprint me and mug-shot me.
[UK]P. Baker Blood Posse 249: I was mug-shot and fingerprinted.
mug-trap (n.)

a con-man, one who tricks gullible victims.

[UK] ‘’Arry on Marriage’ in Punch 29 Sept. 156/1: The ‘D.T.’ is a regular mug-trap.
ugly mug (n.)

1. (N.Z. gay) for a male sex worker, a dangerous or potentially violent client.

[NZ]W. Ings ‘Trolling the Beat to Working the Soob’ in Int’l Jrnl Lexicog. 23:1 73: Terms like on-site visuals (personal appearance), stock (lubricant and condoms), and ugly mug (a dangerous or potentially violent client), became part of the [male sex worker] vernacular .

2. see also sense 1b

In phrases

cop a mug (v.)

of a confidence trickster, to ensnare a victim.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Mar. 13/1: Well, the fact is […] there’s nothin’ to be made ‘on the never’ now; there’s too many on the bloomin’ game. If you cop a mug out of the Metropolitan, and are just a getting him away right, ’bout six of seven in the same line wants to stand in; and that puts the mug fly and chokes him off the push.
cut a mug (v.)

to make faces, e.g. of a clown or comedian; thus mug-cutter n.

[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 357: The dismissal of an underling actor would undoubtedly follow, if he dared to commence his speech before a great comic performer had done ‘cutting of mugs’ [...] I mean making wry faces.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 88: ‘Come, wet t’other eye,’ cried Bob, cutting one of his comical mugs.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
mugged-off (adj.)

foolish, treated like a fool.

[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 156: Sonny starts to feel mugged-off [...] a feeling of being obviously blatantly swindled.
polish one’s mug (v.)

(US tramp) to wash one’s face.

[US]W. Edge Main Stem 84: We asked a man in the hall where we could wash up [...] ‘If yer just wants ter polish yer mugs, ye’ll find de toilet down dat hall to yer left.’.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 148: Polish the Mug. – To wash the hands and face.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 813: polish the mug -To wash the hands and face.
put the mug on (v.)

to throttle.

[UK]Chester Chron. 25 June 6/5: When chance throws a half-drunken man in their way, one steals up on him from behind, and places his hand on his mouth, or, what is professionally termed ‘puts the mug’ on him, while another rifles his pockets.
[US]H. Hapgood Autobiog. of a Thief 271: I explained how I would ‘put the mug on her’ while my husky pal went through her.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 304: To put the mug on (a mark). To put a strangle-hold on a mark who grows obstreperous after he has been fleeced.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 170/2: Put the mugg on. See Put the arm on.
square mug (n.)

(UK Und.) a ‘straight’ or (supposedly) guileless face.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 19/2: This was a staggerer to Joe, and turning towards her with a ‘square mug,’ he asked, in surprise, ‘Are you speaking to me, Madam?’.
stall one’s mug (v.)

to run off, to leave quickly; esp. as excl. stall your mug! go away!

[UK]‘Ducange Anglicus’ Vulgar Tongue 23: To stall your mug To go home, or to take shelter.
[UK]Hotten Dict. Modern Slang 101: stall your mug, go away; spoken sharply by any one who wishes to get rid of a troublesome or inconvenient person.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 27/1: The garcon, after bringing in our half-dozen of wine, would ‘stall his mug’ into a grocer’s ‘drum’ next door after the ‘slavey’.
[UK]Sl. Dict. 308: Stall your mug go away; spoken sharply by any one who wishes to get rid of a troublesome or inconvenient person.
[UK]Newcastle Courant 2 Dec. 6/6: ‘Stall your mug and let a poor traveller be.’ ‘Poor traveller! priggish spinikindosser’.
[UK]Barrèrre & Leland Sl., Jargon and cant.

In exclamations

mugs away!

an excl. used in sporting matches when the winners of the previous game tell the losers to start the next contest or game.

Highlands County Dart Association 🌐 MUGS AWAY: Slang for loser of the game starts the next game.
Markham Dart League 🌐 The Home team must diddle first in the first leg of each game. The team to win the diddle shoots first. The team that lost the diddle must shoot first in the second leg (i.e. Mugs Away).

SE in slang uses

In compounds

mughouse (n.) [SE mug + house; best known in comb. mughouse clubs, political clubs (of Hanoverian sympathies) which met at ‘mug-houses’ early in the 18C]

a cheap tavern.

[UK]R. Steele Tatler No. 180 (1804) 346: There is a Mug-House near Long-Acre.
in Killey-Crankeys Garland [song title] 6: The Mug House Song.
[UK]Stamford Mercury 27 Sept. 3: By and by the Mob increased, and he heard the People at the Mug-house cry ‘King George for ever’.
[UK]Newcastle Courant 1 Nov. 5: Vaughan was at the Head of the Mob with a Club in his hand [...] crying[...] No King George, No Hanoverian, down with the Mughouse.
[UK]J. Walker Pronouncing Dict. 350/1: Mughouse, An alehouse, a low house of entertainment.
[UK]Huntingdon, Bedford & Peterborough Gaz. 25 July 2/1: Mr Hughes held an inquest at the Mug-house, St Cle,ment’s, on the body of [...] the landlord.
[UK](con. 1716) J. Malcolm Anecdotes of Manners and Customs 261: The very focus of those mischiefs were the various mug-houses, as they were politely termed, or in other words Club-taverns.
[UK]Hereford Times 5 Jan. 12/1: George Subray deposed that he was at the Mug House in Leominster, on the night on which the robbery [...] was committed.
[UK]Liverpool Dly Post 11 May 3/1: [advert] To be let, a Mug House and shop [etc.].
[UK]Graphic (London) 14 May 14/1: Well, then, go and be pressed. Put on sailor’s slops and sat in a mug-house in Ratcliffe.
[UK](ref. to early 18C) Western Dly Press 3 Jan. 2/3: A famous london inn has been described [...] as ‘going back to the days of the mug house.’ A mug house was the name given to public houses in the early part of the eighteenth century, where people were served with beer in their own mugs.