When you watch British reality TV, do you get confused by the phrase “mugged off”? This article will explain what it means.
What Does “Mugged Off” Mean In British Slang?
In British slang, the term “mugged off” means to be made to look like a fool. If someone does something to take advantage of you, you could say that you have been “mugged off” by them. The phrase has its origins in white working-class communities where “mug” has several definitions.
Where The Term “Mugged Off” Comes From
The phrase “mugged off” has its origins in white working-class communities, such as those in the east end of London.
Many of these people would not have stayed in school for all that long, probably because they were more likely to do physical labour for their work than sitting in an office. Common jobs in these kinds of communities included factory workers and manual labourers.
But, as with most working-class things, the phrase “mugged off” is used by even the wealthy in society today.
Origins Of The Phrase “Mugged Off”
The word “mug” is a kind of cup, one you usually drink coffee from. In the past, mugs were often printed with ugly faces. This is why “ugly mug” is what some Brits call an ugly face.
People with these kinds of faces were thought of as being stupid- I know it’s not true, but the past was a mean place, get over it! Therefore, they would have been the perfect people to rob- that’s where we get the phrase “getting mugged” from.
When someone mugs you, they take advantage of you and make you look like an idiot, hence where we get the phrase “mugged off”.
How “Mugged Off” Became Popular In British Slang
Today, if you hear the phrase “mugged off”, it’s unlikely you’re watching a documentary about the lexicon of working-class Britons throughout the years.
It’s more likely that you’re watching a reality TV show. The two with the most “mugged off”s are probably The Only Way is Essex and Love Island.
Due to the popularity of these kinds of shows, it’s no longer just the working class who use “mugged off”. However, even the poshest person in the world would struggle to sound eloquent when uttering “mugged off”.
“Mugged Off” Has Given Rise To A New Word- “Muggy”
From “mugged off”, a new phrase has risen, “muggy”.
When watching Love Island, you might find that one of the girls says “Kissing her behind my back was really muggy”.
To be “muggy” means to have a tendency to mug people off. Interestingly, being “muggy” is now seen as more of an insult than being a “mug”.
And to be “muggy” means to make other people look like a “mug”.
There was even a participant on Love Island one year who was given the nickname “Muggy Mike” due to him stealing one of the girls from another male.
8 Examples Of “Mugged Off”
- “You gave him £100 for a piece of paper?! You have been mugged off!”
- “Bradley has just kissed another girl in the second villa. I feel so mugged off!”
- “I feel mugged off by this government. I voted for them because I thought they wanted to help communities like ours. But it turns out, they just want their mates to keep more money”
- “Honey. If you go back to your ex, you will be mugged off by the end of the day. Trust me babe, it’s not worth it!”
- “I was mugged off by my boss. I worked for 12 hours for him, and didn’t even get any extra commission beyond my hourly wage”
- “You’ve been mugged off mate. Best thing to do is pie her off and wait for new girls to enter the villa”
- “I was mugged off by Jack. He said he’d take me to New York, but he actually just took me to a New York themed bar in Croydon”
- “I am not being mugged off again. Get some new boys in this villa so Muggy Dave can have a taste of his own medicine”
Next time you’re watching a British reality show, such as The Only Way is Essex or Love Island, and you hear someone use phrases such as “mugged off” or “muggy”, you will no longer wonder what the hell these words mean.
To be “mugged off” means to be taken advantage of, and made to look like a fool. And to be “muggy” means to have a habit of mugging people off.