• synonyms


noun, plural plug·ug·lies. Informal.
  1. a ruffian; rowdy; tough.
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Origin of plugugly

An Americanism dating back to 1855–60; plug + ugly
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for plug-ugly

Historical Examples

  • “Let the plug-ugly have what he seems to be looking for,” advised Mern.

    Joan of Arc of the North Woods

    Holman Day

  • Every criminal and plug-ugly in the country is spitting in our faces this morning.

  • The “plug-ugly” of Baltimore is another name for the same class.

  • A giant "plug-ugly" bellowed with triumph over his successful shot, yelled "kill 'em all!"

    Tom Strong, Lincoln's Scout

    Alfred Bishop Mason

British Dictionary definitions for plug-ugly


  1. informal extremely ugly
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noun plural -lies
  1. US slang a city tough; ruffian
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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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper