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Recently I've heard couple of interesting idioms one of which was "Make yourself scarce or I'll polish your mug". So, I was wondering is it really used like that? I've heard of "Make yourself scarce" before, but "I'll polish your mug" is the first time I heard it. Does it sounds natural? Can I actually use it? Or will it be just funny if I say it?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I wouldn't consider that to be offensive- more like jocular. Mug is a slang term for face. To "polish your mug" means he's going to beat you up.

mug : "a person's face," 1708

polish : from Latin polire "to polish, make smooth; decorate, embellish

Presumably the "embellishment" to your face will consist of a bunch of cuts and bruises.

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Well, I understand the meaning, but I was wondering if I can actually use this phrase and not look weird. For example if I want to say it to my buddy as a joke when he does something I don't appreciate. – Derpedon Apr 17 '13 at 17:08
You can use the phrase if you feel comfortable using it, if you feel that it is "in character" for you, and if you think your audience (your friend) will understand it. The effectiveness of a joke is all in the delivery. So you must be comfortable in order for a good, smooth and timely delivery- otherwise it will fall flat. – Jim Apr 17 '13 at 17:09
I see. Thank you for the explanation :) – Derpedon Apr 17 '13 at 17:11
I imaging polishing is intended to evoke the image of forcefully rubbing something, not so much 'decorating' or 'embellishing'. – p.s.w.g Apr 17 '13 at 22:25
@p.s.w.g- I had that thought as well, but after thinking some about it I don't believe that any more. Perhaps if it was a boxing metaphor involving lots of glancing blows the glove leather might "polish" the face, or if you were threatening to polish their face on the sidewalk maybe, but I think decorate or embellish fits much better in this particular case. – Jim Apr 18 '13 at 0:14

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