di di mau

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Vietnamese đi đi mau (get lost!). Borrowed into English by American military personnel returning from the Vietnam War, as well as by Vietnamese immigrants; popularized by the movie The Deer Hunter.

This is not a common way to say "Hurry up!" in Vietnamese. The verb đi (to go) can be expressed as a command: "Đi đi!" One may even express a sense of urgency with the word mau (fast): "Đi mau đi!" However, Vietnamese speakers tend to use the verbs mau lên, nhanh lên, and vội lên in exactly the way an English speaker would use hurry up.

Verb[edit]

di di mau or di-di mau (defective verb)

  1. To leave quickly, hurry away.
    • 1978, The Deer Hunter:
      [quotation needed]
    • 1984, Wallace Terry, Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War, Random House, ISBN 0394530284, page 171:
      And if a Vietnamese, be it man, woman, or child, refused to di di mau or tried to get away, the authorization was to go ’head and shoot ’em.
    • 1995, Nicholas Warr, Phase Line Green: The Battle for Hue, 1968, Naval Institute Press, ISBN 1591149215, page 18:
      [] No contact with any gooks. They just blew the bridges and di-di mau’d.” Since I knew that di-di means “go,” and that mau means “fast,” I knew that the VC had made themselves scarce.
    • 2000, “Skinner’s Sense of Snow” (television episode), The Simpsons, December 17, 2000:
      "What part of "Di di Mau" don't you understand, Skinner?"
    • 2002, Nelson DeMille, Up country: a novel‎, ISBN 0739422987, page 138:
      [] Di di mau!” which means get moving, and is not very polite. I started to turn away, then I had a good idea that would make everyone happy.

References[edit]

  • di di mau” in Encarta World English Dictionary, North American Edition.
  • Langenscheidt's Pocket Dictionary Vietnamese/English
  • Dictionary of Marine Corps Terms and Words Used in Vietnam