Boda boda newest word in the Oxford dictionary

Boda boda newest word in the Oxford dictionary

The word boda boda has now been added to the 9th edition of Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary following its regular use in East Africa to refer to a motorcycle or bicycle often used as a taxi.

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary is one of the world’s best-selling advanced learner’s dictionary and  features  more than 185,000 words, phrases and meaning, develops the skills students need for passing exams and communicating in English.

The word, now in common usage, was first used by bicycle riders ferrying traders to the Busia market which straddles the Kenya-Uganda border.

Bicycle riders came in handy for traders in need of cheap transportation from one side of the border to the other hence the birth of ‘border border’ which with time and due to Kiswahili influence commonly became boda boda.

Boda bodas have employed thousands of youths putting bringing much-needed relief to an economy reeling from high unemployment.


Charles Onyango-Obbo, an experienced journalist, was the first person to bring the goods news to Kenyans on Twitter. The word started trending early morning after Royal Media Services social media platforms shared Obbo’s tweet on Facebook and Twitter.

Cheeky as usual, Kenyans flocked to twitter to give their opinions. One, commenting on Obbo’s thread, said Oxford Learner’s Dictionary got the pronunciation wrong:

“I don’t think they got the pronunciation quite right though,” said Kathambi Kinoti @@KathambiK

“The word Nduthi should have been added to the English Oxford dictionary instead of Boda Boda,” tweeted @Kamlepeter04

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