mug it up

susanna76

Senior Member
Romanian
What does "mug it up" mean? Make a nice face? Make a face with an exaggerated expression? Something else altogether?

Here's from Barack Obama, Dreams From My Father:
"We followed Mark to the bookcase, and he pulled down a large photo album. . . . The Old Man and Ruth [his wife] mugging it up at a beach somewhere."

Thanks!
 
  • Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    What does "mug it up" mean? Make a nice face? Make a face with an exaggerated expression? Something else altogether?

    Here's from Barack Obama, Dreams From My Father:
    "We followed Mark to the bookcase, and he pulled down a large photo album. . . . The Old Man and Ruth [his wife] mugging it up at a beach somewhere."

    Thanks!
    I think this may be a case of a vast gulf between US and UK usage. In the UK, 'mugging up' usually refers to swotting for exams, meaning working frantically at the last minute to try and cram in the vital facts that have to be remembered ("I spent all last night mugging up on biology"). I have a feeling that, given the context of your sentence, the US usage has a sexual connotation!
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    WR dictionary: mug: 2 make faces before an audience or a camera.

    The "it up" is an intensifier of sorts, and is used in other expressions. "Laugh it up, fool" comes to mind. :)
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    ewie: Right:):)
    It's sort of easy to remember, from "mug shots" -- although that connection threw me off a bit, since you don't make faces there. :)
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    ewie: Right:):)
    It's sort of easy to remember, from "mug shots" -- although that connection threw me off a bit, since you don't make faces there. :)
    And "mug shot" comes from the fact that "mug" was an old AE slang word for "face". It's not used anymore, but it often pops up in old books and movies.
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    And "mug shot" comes from the fact that "mug" was an old AE slang word for "face". It's not used anymore, but it often pops up in old books and movies.
    Mug for face is quite common in colloquial BE though.

    He's got an ugly mug...
    Don't show your ugly mug around here anymore...
    Look at the mug on her...
    etc etc...
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top