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#23350 03/18/01 03:21 AM
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Mug shots: photographs of an accused taken at the time of his arrest, usually both face on and in profile.

I think I have finally answered the niggling question of the origin of the term. "Mug," of course, is a slang term for "face," and so I surmise that "mug shot" merely means "face shot." But only recently did I learn the connection between a drinking mug and the face. According to Webb Garrison in Why You Say It, beer mugs of the late 18th century were often shaped like human heads, and a not especially attractive person often bore a resemblance to a face on a mug. As a result, a face came to be called a mug.

I have yet to encounter a formal term which is the equivalent of "mug shot." Does anyone know one? I struggle to avoid slang terms in my formal writing, and am often wishing for a pithy substitute for "mug shot."


#23351 03/18/01 03:32 AM
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I have yet to encounter a formal term which is the equivalent of "mug shot." Does anyone know one? I struggle to avoid slang terms in my formal writing, and am often wishing for a pithy substitute for "mug shot."

Profile, likeness, study (as in drawing), snap (as in film).... Any of those help?

Ali

#23352 03/18/01 05:21 PM
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Dear Seian: It is surprising that while the term "profile" is commonly used for a side view of the face, that there is not a similar term for the face viewed from the front. I have seen the phrase "full front view" but not a single word. Maybe tsuwm knows one.


#23353 03/18/01 07:03 PM
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#23354 03/18/01 07:35 PM
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I have seen the phrase "full front view" but not a single word.

It is strange. The closest we seemed to get to a single word in art school was "frontal". I would be surprised if there wasn't a term for it somewhere in history, but I suppose it's fallen out of use, or the meaning has changed. My best guess for a word thats meaning migrated away might be "portrait". Can't be sure without the OED or some other extensive art source.

Ali

#23355 03/19/01 02:45 AM
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Dear Seian: In computerese,"portrait" means longest side vertical, as contrasted with "landscape" meaning longest side horizontal.


#23356 03/19/01 08:49 AM
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[quote]beer mugs of the late 18th century were often shaped like human heads,[//quote]

... known as toby jugs. My father used to have one.

Bingley


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#23357 03/19/01 05:41 PM
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From way back I remember Tobermory. Those mugs were made by slipcasting, and the inside was very difficult to keep clean. Best left on knick-knack shelf for decoration.


#23358 03/20/01 11:43 AM
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Wasn't Tobermory a Womble rather than a jug?

Bingley


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#23359 03/20/01 12:38 PM
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There are amazing mugs and jugs with faces hand made, I think, in the American southeastern states, late 19th early 20th century of stoneware. I'm not sure what they're called. The faces are incredibly goofy with with crooked teeth and exaggerated features. You would definitely not want to be compared with them!

Also, the book Prisoners, by Arne Svenson, contains a collection of images made in the early 20th century by a California photographer of a town's criminals. Svenson calls them mugshots (one word) and does not have a word for frontal view.

Maybe someone should ask a cop!


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