from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. Informal To attack or denounce vociferously, especially so as to intimidate: "In years past, [the civil rights leadership] ... would mau-mau the government or the corporate sector or the white community” ( Joseph Perkins).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To menace through intimidating tactics; to intimidate, harass; to terrorize.


After the Mau Mau, a secret society of Kikuyu terrorists that led a rebellion against the ruling Europeans in Kenya in the 1950s, from Kikuyu mau-mau, sound of the voracious gobbling of a hyena.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Mau Mau, the name of a group of anti-British insurgents in Kenya, who were noted in Europe for their (alleged) extreme violence and brutality. (Wiktionary)


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  • Hmmmm. At work we have a volunteer called Mau-Mau who helps out on Fridays. He's from Myanmar.

    April 28, 2009

  • I believe that one of Tom Wolfe's early essay collections was called "Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak-catchers".

    April 28, 2009

  • The only person I've ever witnessed use this word is Mickey Kaus. The Mickey Kaus definition of this word, as far as I can tell, is "bullying, when done by liberals".

    April 28, 2009