were mau-maued into it

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Mar 8 01:54:16 UTC 2007

At 6:29 PM -0700 3/7/07, Larry Scoggs wrote:
>I ran across the subject expression at this web site about one third
>down the page.
>I have never seen this expression used before but Google turns up
>498 hits on it.  Can anyone share some information on the
>expression. It appears to mean coerce but why the word mau-mau?
Oh, I realize I didn't address your actual question, viz. "Why
Mau-Mau?"  The reference is to an indigenous uprising by Kenyans
against the British colonizers in the 1950s which, while unsuccessful
at the time, did lead indirectly to the independence movement that
eventually liberated Kenya from British rule.  There was also a
violent Puerto-Rican gang by that name in the New York area, but I
assumed that Wolfe coined his verb (to mau-mau) from the Kenyan
movement, although I could be wrong.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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