April 7, 2017




bao (ma class, plural mabao)

1) board (piece of wood)

2) goal

3) board game

From Wiktionary:




Well, bao is a particular board game played in East Africa (and probably elsewhere). But because there are many "board games" in the English-speaking world, "board game" does not work very well as a translation for the Swahili word "bao." My preference would be to leave it untranslated bao if in the context of board games.

bao [noun] - an African board game usually played by moving pebbles along two rows of holes. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/bao

EDIT (3/Dec/2021): There are at least two other board games played in East Africa: dama (checkers/draughts) and sataranji (chess).

bao can mean the board on which any of these games are played.

I think bao means score in the sense of "goli", and sports announcers seem to love yelling out a prolonged "skoooooooooooo ..." when a goal is scored. Not sure what word is used for the results of a match (maybe matokeo or matokeo ya mwisho, but I don't think it is bao


Ok so, to this thick mzungu - what is the difference between bao and goli? 21052020


You can score a goal but you don't score a score; score is also outcome measured by the number of goals - it is not difficult to tell these words apart

Related Discussions

Learn Swahili in just 5 minutes a day. For free.