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Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Phrases of the Day 59: 'mug'

Right now I am sitting at my computer surrounded by mugs, and not all of them are used for drinking out of. Mug is a word with many uses. The first, most obvious, use of the word is a coffee, tea or beer mug, i.e 'a drinking vessel'. As usual I have a strong mug of coffee next to me right now.

Even if you don't drink any of the above, you still have a mug, we all do!. Mug can also mean face and is often used as an insult: 'Get your ugly mug out of my house!' This usage began when, in the 18th Century, it became fashionable to have drinking mugs in the shape of grotesque (ugly) faces. Connected to this is the term mug-shot meaning a photographic portrait, often with regard to a police photo of a criminal or suspect. (My passport photo suddenly springs to mind)

Mug also means money, as in: 'I just got loads of mug'....oops..... be careful, because not everything you read is true. In fact don't believe that mug can mean money because then you could be called a mug yourself because mug (or muggins) also means a stupid or gullible (easily fooled/tricked) person. Don't worry, I have been a mug many times in my life. Indeed, I'm still waiting for that £1 million I won on the Internet lottery to arrive......oh... and those x-ray glasses.....

Related to this is the expression 'it's a mug's game' meaning a foolish activity. e.g."You won't get away with stealing cars for long, it's a mug's game." Speaking of stealing, being a mugger is also a mug's game: to mug means to rob at gunpoint or with the threat of violence. I've been mugged, it is a scarey experience, but luckily for me I only had 60p in my pocket. I was seventeen at the time and I had spent the whole day mugging up for my exams, which means I had been studying/revising for my exams. Mugging up and then being mugged: pure poetry.

Anyway that is enough about mug. I hope you are not as confused as I am........

2 Comments:

Anonymous said...

i just mugged my little sister,can i say that or its only for violence attitude?

Matt Ford said...

'to mug' is only with the use or threat of violence. It is usually done by a stranger.