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[pluhg-uhg-lee] /ˈplʌgˌʌg li/
noun, plural pluguglies. Informal.
a ruffian; rowdy; tough.
Origin of plugugly
An Americanism dating back to 1855-60; plug + ugly Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for plug-ugly


(informal) extremely ugly
noun (pl) -lies
(US, slang) a city tough; ruffian
Word Origin
C19: origin obscure; originally applied to ruffians in New York who attempted to exert political pressure
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for plug-ugly

"ruffian," 1856, originally in Baltimore, Maryland, from plug (n.), American English slang name for the stovepipe hats then popular among young men, + ugly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for plug-ugly



  1. A rowdy; tough; gorilla, hood (1856+)
  2. A prizefighter; pug (1940s+)

[origin unknown; perhaps fr rowdy fire companies in Baltimore, hence fr fireplug; perhaps fr New York toughs of the 1830s who wore top hats over their ears as helmets; perhaps related to plug-muss, ''a fight,'' found by the early 1950s]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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