SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Could you be a mug?

Discussion started on

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region britishisles
What's the US-speak for mug? Or do you say that too? It could be used like this,

John got swindled by two crooks.
"John's a real mug." (Meaning he's been taken for a ride.)

Is there a word like that in United Statesia? Or would mug do?
#1 - February 09, 2013, 05:37 PM

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region dakotas
Never in any part of the US have I heard the word "mug" used like that. The only use I know for it is the kind of cup you drink hot chocolate or coffee in.

The most common word I'd use there would be "sucker," but I don't know if there is a trendier version on at the moment. Everyone would understand sucker, though. Someone kinda dumb who got tricked by someone smarter.
#2 - February 09, 2013, 05:50 PM

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region britishisles
Never in any part of the US have I heard the word "mug" used like that. The only use I know for it is the kind of cup you drink hot chocolate or coffee in.

The most common word I'd use there would be "sucker," but I don't know if there is a trendier version on at the moment. Everyone would understand sucker, though. Someone kinda dumb who got tricked by someone smarter.

Thanks, Olmue.

Ah, sucker. But isn't that a rather rude term? This is for a magazine... not for kids, but still. I'm not sure they'd approve! Or am I reading too much into the word and it's not rude at all?!

Online it recommends 'fool' but I was hoping for something a bit less old-fashioned sounding. Hmm.
#3 - February 09, 2013, 05:59 PM

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region dakotas
Mug may be gentler than sucker, I don't know (since I've never heard it used that way). Sucker isn't like swearing or anything, but I guess in the right context it could be a bit condescending. Maybe you could say that the person "got taken" ?

--It sounded so good. I totally believed them!
--(Shaking head) You got taken, man.

I hear people say things like, I'm a sucker for that sort of thing (meaning, if cute kids come to your door selling doughnuts, you'll buy them, even if they are way totally overpriced.)
#4 - February 09, 2013, 06:02 PM

Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region newengland
Agree with Olmue -- I've never heard mug used in that way before! "Sucker" would work (I don't think it's really a swear.). I'd have to think about others.....10yo says "idiot" which I don't approve of, and "fool." He is reading this now and laughed and said "McFoolselPants". Which I'm not sure is sweeping the nation right now.  :lol2:
#5 - February 09, 2013, 06:03 PM

Admins and Mods Emeriti
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region midatlantic
I don't think of "sucker" as rude or dirty, although now that you mention it, I see what you mean. Here's a list of more choices:  http://thesaurus.com/browse/sucker

I've most of them, but sucker or chump the most, I think.  And easy mark.
#6 - February 09, 2013, 06:12 PM
VAMPIRINA BALLERINA series (Disney-Hyperion)
SUNNY'S TOW TRUCK SAVES THE DAY (Abrams)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region cencal
schlemiel, mark, patsy, chump, soft touch, dupe, sap, dipwad

each one has a slightly different connotation

mark is probably the least contemptuous -- or maybe fall guy
#7 - February 09, 2013, 06:33 PM
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 06:39 PM by Betsy »
www.ellenjackson.net
PICKY EATERS
OCTOPUSES ONE TO TEN
THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE
THE BALLAD OF BOOSTER BOGG
BEASTLY BABIES
TOOLING AROUND

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
Gamers and internet people might say "pwned" as in "John got pwned." It's a corruption of "owned" which would also work. It's a little more general, as in someone got the better of you, not necessarily that they swindled you. Of course, it's also a verb, rather than an adjective.
#8 - February 09, 2013, 06:42 PM

I've never heard "mug" used that way. Only to describe someone's face ("mug shot" or "what a mug on that guy") or robbing someone ("that guy got mugged on main street"). Or for coffee, of course. I think "dupe" is a good non-insulting phrase for that, if used as a verb especially. But not very kid-friendly. I don't think most kids would know the term. Perhaps just "you've been had" to keep it simple? Or a "poor shlep"? Nah. That's not for kids either. "Sucker" certainly fits, but it's not something you'd want to be called. Perhaps it's a matter of keeping it in verb form as opposed to a noun that describes the person. That way, you're condemning the behavior instead of the person.
#9 - February 09, 2013, 07:12 PM
NED THE KNITTING PIRATE, GRIMELDA series,
CITY SHAPES, DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS, ONE SNOWY DAY, PIZZA PIG, and more...
http://www.dianamurray.com

Sorry, I just realized this wouldn't be intended for kids. That does change things a bit. But it really depends on the tone you're going for.
#10 - February 09, 2013, 07:18 PM
NED THE KNITTING PIRATE, GRIMELDA series,
CITY SHAPES, DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS, ONE SNOWY DAY, PIZZA PIG, and more...
http://www.dianamurray.com

Artist Obscure
Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region canadawest
Definately mug used that was is not an American term.

Patsy, chump, sucker, stooge are all ones I've heard on kids shows or in books... even for YA type stuff. These (other than sucker) are older terms though. I don't have a dictionary that has slang, but online they said the word patsy usage started in the early 1900s. I've always heard these words used in relationship to mob activity. 

Though dupe is one of them, it's generally used in the past tense: "I've been duped!"

Also there are other words that people might use if they are planning on duping someone.
Mark is a very commonly used term. Fall guy is another (though usually the fall guy is in cahoots with whoever is making him "fall").
#11 - February 09, 2013, 07:34 PM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region iowa
How about "chump" or "mark"?

I think the derivation of sucker is not sexual, but refers to suckers which spring up around trees and need to be pruned because they just sap the main tree, and aren't going to amount to anything. This usage was more common in the 19th century.

The nickname for people from Illinois was "Suckers," because they were transplants from farther east, but as the meaning of sucker has become less agricultural and more pejorative, people from Illinois have stopped using the term.
#12 - February 09, 2013, 07:38 PM
Learning to Swear in America (Bloomsbury, July 2016)
What Goes Up (Bloomsbury, 2017)
Twitter: KatieWritesBks

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI RAE
  • SCBWI Region arizona
Kids at my school (6-12 year-olds) call each other "sucker" if they fall for a trick someone's playing on them. It's usually drawn out into two syllables with more emphasis on the last one: "Suck-aaarrr!"   I haven't heard any kids use the word chump or mark. Those are terms I only hear in old old movies.

Sucker as a term for someone who got fooled or taken is a pretty common term that isn't considered offensive--except by the person who was suckered, of course.

#13 - February 09, 2013, 08:08 PM
Regional Advisor Emeritus

www.bobimartin.com
Organisms That Glow
Theme Parks
What Are Gems?

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region britishisles
I think the derivation of sucker is not sexual, but refers to suckers which spring up around trees and need to be pruned because they just sap the main tree, and aren't going to amount to anything. This usage was more common in the 19th century.

Really?! So then saying, "That sucks!" would also be okay? I was told that was an extremely rude thing to say and not appropriate for a picture book. I'd never thought of it as a rude term until that critiquer mentioned it... and maybe I was right after all!

But, yes, as I mentioned, this is not for kids anyway. Lots of good options now, though...

Chump sounds a bit young to me (it's for Men's Fitness), but easy mark, soft touch and several others could work.

I'll definitely be going for McFoolselPants, though. I think that hits just the right tone for this magazine's readership! He he he.

Thank you all!
#14 - February 10, 2013, 05:00 AM

Member
Poster Plus
No, "that sucks" is a different usage than "sucker" and would definitely not be used in a picture book. I don't think most adults consider it "extremely rude" but it's not something small children generally say. In fact, it tends to be avoided in middle grade books although I think it's considered fine in YA.

I think "mug" has been used in the U.S. to mean "sucker," but not any more recently than, say, Damon Runyon.
#15 - February 10, 2013, 05:33 AM
AROUND AMERICA TO WIN THE VOTE
ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY ADDIE
MESMERIZED
GINGERBREAD FOR LIBERTY!
THE GRUDGE KEEPER
more at mararockliff.com

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region britishisles
No, "that sucks" is a different usage than "sucker" and would definitely not be used in a picture book. I don't think most adults consider it "extremely rude" but it's not something small children generally say. In fact, it tends to be avoided in middle grade books although I think it's considered fine in YA.

I think "mug" has been used in the U.S. to mean "sucker," but not any more recently than, say, Damon Runyon.

Oh. So 'that sucks' is different from 'sucker.' Hmmm. Well, then, I'm glad I took it out!
#16 - February 10, 2013, 05:36 AM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region iowa
Sorry, should have been more clear. "Sucker" has a horticultural derivation; "that sucks," er, doesn't. I wouldn't use "that sucks" in a picture book, although something like, "that stinks," would probably be okay.

I'm just going to take my nineteenth-century folksy ways and back out now. Unless anyone wants a ginger cake or a sarsaparilla before I go....
#17 - February 10, 2013, 09:33 AM
Learning to Swear in America (Bloomsbury, July 2016)
What Goes Up (Bloomsbury, 2017)
Twitter: KatieWritesBks

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region britishisles
Sorry, should have been more clear. "Sucker" has a horticultural derivation; "that sucks," er, doesn't. I wouldn't use "that sucks" in a picture book, although something like, "that stinks," would probably be okay.

I'm just going to take my nineteenth-century folksy ways and back out now. Unless anyone wants a ginger cake or a sarsaparilla before I go....

Oh, I see. I think I'll just avoid the word altogether - in kidlit at least!
#18 - February 10, 2013, 12:48 PM

PStarz

Guest
I have fearlessly (and perhaps foolishly) used the word 'mug' in my middle grade noir mystery but it comes from my MC watching The Maltese Falcon' and getting inspired by (maybe even possessed by) Sam Spade.  It might be OK if you hint at what it means. 
#19 - February 18, 2013, 05:35 PM

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.