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butt ugly

slang Thoroughly unattractive. Kids can be so cruel—just last week one of my students called another one butt ugly!
See also: butt, ugly

rear its ugly head

Fig. [for something unpleasant] to appear or become obvious after lying hidden. Jealousy reared its ugly head and destroyed their marriage. The question of money always rears its ugly head in matters of business.
See also: head, rear, ugly

*ugly as a toad

[of a living creature] very ugly. (*Also:as ~.) Maria may be a beautiful woman, but when she was a child she was as ugly as a toad. The shopkeeper was ugly as a toad, but he was kind and generous, and everyone loved him.
See also: toad, ugly

*ugly as sin

Cliché extremely ugly. (*Also: as ~.) Why would anyone want to buy that dress? It's as ugly as sin! Harold is ugly as sin, but his personality is very charming.
See also: sin, ugly

an ugly duckling

someone or something that is ugly and not successful when they are young or new, but which develops into something beautiful and successful The most successful company was last year's ugly duckling.
See also: duckling, ugly

be as ugly as sin

to be very ugly That dog of his is as ugly as sin.
See also: sin, ugly

rear its ugly head

Appear. This phrase is used only of something undesirable or unpleasant, as in The interview went very well until a question about his academic record reared its ugly head . This expression was first recorded in slightly different form in Anthony Trollope's Barchester Towers (1857): "Rebellion had already reared her hideous head."
See also: head, rear, ugly

ugly as sin

Physically or morally hideous, as in I can't think why she likes that dog; it's ugly as sin. This simile, first recorded in 1801, replaced the earlier ugly as the devil.
See also: sin, ugly

ugly customer

An ill-natured or vicious individual, as in Watch out for Charlie when he's drinking; he can be an ugly customer. This phrase uses ugly in the sense of "mean" or "dangerous." [c. 1800]
See also: customer, ugly

ugly duckling

A homely or unpromising individual who grows into an attractive or talented person, as in She was the family ugly duckling but blossomed in her twenties. This term alludes to Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale about a cygnet hatched with ducklings that is despised for its clumsiness until it grows up into a beautiful swan. The tale was first translated into English in 1846, and the term was used figuratively by 1871.
See also: duckling, ugly

(as) ugly as sin

mod. very ugly. This car’s as ugly as sin, but it’s cheap and dependable.
See also: sin, ugly

ugly as sin

See also: sin, ugly


mod. very ugly. (Usually objectionable.) That is the most butt-ugly car I’ve ever seen.


(ˈkɑɪot ˈəgli and ˈkɑɪoti ˈəgli)
mod. extremely ugly. (see also double-bagger, triple-bagger. Supposedly, if one woke up and found one’s arm around a coyote-ugly person, one would chew off one’s arm—in the manner of a coyote escaping from a steel-jaw trap—rather than pull it back away from this person.) Is that your pet monkey, or is your date just coyote-ugly?

hit by the ugly stick

mod. made to be very ugly. She is so lame. Looks like she was hit by the ugly stick till it broke!
See also: hit, stick, ugly


mod. very ugly. (see also pug-ugly.) Your dog is just plug-ugly!


1. mod. having to do with a very ugly person. What a pug-ugly cat you have there!
2. n. a very ugly person. (Also a rude term of address.) Hey, pug-ugly, try plastic surgery!
References in periodicals archive ?
Donny are renowned for playing attractive football but they may be found wanting in the uglier aspects of the game.
While I'm no fan of Ulrika, that sleazebag ex-footballer strikes me as the uglier of the two.
This story is horrendous and gets uglier by the day.
The debate will only grow uglier, and the chance to find a national consensus all the more unlikely.
Have pharmaceutical ads--with fit, bright-faced models portraying AIDS patients--numbed us to the uglier realities of living with HIV infection?
If there's an uglier, more erosive word in any language, we'd like to see it.
It is the cause of the bitter and unending struggle over the Transfer State, of the ugly battles over welfare, affirmative action, health care, social security, and the even uglier preoccupation in some circles with the alleged relationship of race, intelligence, and earning.
She did not care to idealize, seeking the sad and unexpected beauty in the uglier side of life.
Before the emergence of players like Caroline Wozniacki (above) and Julia Goerges, who contested that final, to make money from women's tennis all you had to do was back the uglier of the two on court, although sometimes it wasn't easy to tell.
Those three blocks, which I think resemble giant tombstones, are very much larger and uglier than Concourse House.
He might look cute at the moment but as he gets older, he's likely to get uglier - a bit like Mick Jagger, I suppose.
TWICE a winner of the Plook on the Plinth award for Scotland's Most Dismal Town, I can tell you that Cumbernauld is about to get even uglier.
JOHN TERRY turned an ugly week for English football even uglier last night on his return to first-team action.
Things turned uglier than a broken metatarsal and were only soothed by the promise of an England flag for his room.
Both teams like to get the ball down and play but, as is often the case in the play-offs, it may be the side which deals best with the uglier side of the game that progresses.