phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Mug, mug up

Posted by ESC on April 04, 2003

In Reply to: Mug posted by S. on April 04, 2003

: Any idea as to why "mug" means "fool", such as in "mug's game", and also as to what "mug" refers to in "mug up"?

: Thanks in advance for any information.

MUG - .2a. Orig. Underground & Carnival, a dupe, fool; sucker. 1857 "Ducange Anglicus" "Vulgar Tongue' 13: Mug, n. Dupe. "Who is the 'mug.'?." From "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1 H-O" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.

The same reference has several entries for "mug up":

Mug-up, noun. -- a snack or drink of coffee, a short respite for such a snack.
Mug up -- to study hard.
Mug up -- to drink one's fill of coffee.