di di mau

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Borrowed 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 an uncommon 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.



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

  1. (slang) To leave quickly, hurry away.
    • 1978, The Deer Hunter (via IMDB):
      [Viet Cong guard, to prisoner forced to play Russian roulette:] MAU! MAU! DIDI MAU!
    • 1984, Wallace Terry, Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War, Random House, →ISBN, 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, 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, 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.
    • 2016, Better Call Saul (television series), Season 2, Episode 8, Fifi:
      “Oh, and point me to your best copier.” “Best copier?” “Yeah. Best copier. C’mon. Di di mau.”


  • 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