mug (face)

Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
Hi,

Today I met a foreigner in a restaurant and when I asked him how I could describe someone who's good-looking, he suggested "She's got a handsome mug". I know the word "mug" for a long time and I also know one meaning of it is face, but I have never heard people use it like this.

Is the recommended usage appropriate?

Thanks a lot
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Where was the 'foreigner' from, Silver?

    "She's got a handsome mug" sounds pretty strange to me - "handsome" and "mug" just don't go together:(.
     

    DocPenfro

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I would agree with Loob; 'mug' is probably now obsolete as a slang term for 'face', and even when it was current it had a negative connotation, and the normal usage would have been more like 'ugly mug'.
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    I agree with the previous comments. 'Mugshot' is a slang word for the unflattering photographs you get in passports and on driving licences etc.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Mug is somewhat old-fashioned and ranges from
    neutral amongst friends, "There was a noise and I looked towards the window; there was Percy's mug looking in at me."
    to
    pejorative with reference to strangers, "I knew I was going to be cheated by the shopkeeper; his mug had a sort of sly look to it."

    I don't think I have ever heard mug used with a compliment.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Where was the 'foreigner' from, Silver?

    "She's got a handsome mug" sounds pretty strange to me - "handsome" and "mug" just don't go together:(.
    I don't have an idea where he's from. It becomes impolite recently when ask a foreigner too much private questions.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Also, I don't think that "mug" was ever used in connection with a woman, as this person suggested. (And it's unusual, although not unheard-of, to use "handsome" to describe a good-looking female.)
     

    morzh

    Banned
    USA
    Russian
    Very popular way of saying it for Russians. He actually could be a Russian.
    I've heard "mug" from Russians, and the thing is, it is a normal way of "negative-based positive" (like that male-bonding scene from the "demolition man") we use in our language. A mug ("morda") is by itself negative, but can be used as a diminutive (mordochka, mordashka), or even "morda" itself, to pay a compliment when speaking of a third party, and how it is interpreted is defined by the context and by voice inflections.

    That is, it is normal for a person who has just learned the basics and is able to speak, to use his/her own language patterns. Takes some practice to understand that it is not that straightforward, and word-for-word translation does not always work.
     
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