bo liao

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Alternative forms[edit]


From Hokkien 無聊无聊 (bô-liâu, “bored; boring”).


  • (Singapore English) IPA(key): /boːˈlɪaʊ/


bo liao (comparative more bo liao, superlative most bo liao)

  1. (Singapore, colloquial, informal) Boring.
    • 1996, Leong Siew Mei, “Government system should be more tightly controlled”, in soc.culture.singapore, Usenet[1], retrieved 2016-04-01:
      This guy damn bo-liao. As though I got time to entertain you.
    • 1999, Steven Tan, “Petition against M1 charging for SMS”, in soc.culture.singapore, Usenet[2], retrieved 2016-04-01:
      I had a friend who would SMS me the most bo liao messages. I’m glad it’s stopped now.
    • 2013, Airstrike, “13 school websites defaced by hacker who signed off as 'Jack Riderr'”, in Stomp (Singapore)[3], retrieved 2016-04-01:
      Can’t they do something more meaningful? Doing such things is called ‘bo liao‘ (nothing better to do).
    • 2015, Derek Lim, “Random thoughts: Too iron teeth in my work?”, in[4], retrieved 2016-04-01:
      Having to manage that part is rather ‘bo liao’ and I felt my limited energy can be better served somewhere.

Usage notes[edit]

Carries a negative connotation with allusion to the cause of nosy or meddlesome behaviour. Most common in speech and electronic media.