Since making its way out of Italy, bingo has no borders. It’s played by diverse populations of people who come from all sorts of backgrounds. The rules are simple enough for everyone to understand, so even kids and young adults can quickly get the hang of it.
For this reason, bingo calls and bingo jargon, especially code names given to the bingo numbers, have evolved over the years. We have different cultures of people to thank for that.
So don’t get confused when, for instance, you hear a caller yell one Dozen. They’re simply referring to the bingo number 12.
Each number has a nickname or bingo call that the caller uses when that specific number is drawn. Avid bingo players associate these calls with the rhyming phrase ‘bingo lingo’ because there’s bingo lingo for each number from 1 to 90. The 90-ball bingo game is the most extensive variety of bingo there is.
Take a look at the bingo nicknames below for a feel of all this bingo lingo talk.
1. Kelly’s eyes
Kelly’s eyes is the lingo that the caller uses when number one is drawn from the bingo cage. Some say it’s military slang, while others say it references an Australian folk hero called Ned Kelly.
2. One Little Duck/ Me & You
The nickname comes from the resemblance or the number 2 to a duck.
3. Cup of Tea
In the UK, folks are fond of drinking tea, and the number three rhymes with tea.
4. Knock at the Door
Whenever there’s a knock at the door, people usually ask, “Who’s there?” It’s the perfect bingo lingo for number 4.
5. Man Alive
Man alive rhymes with five.
6. Tom Mix/ Half a Dozen
Tom Mix is a cockney (East London native) word for number six. You could also use the bingo lingo half a dozen since 6 is half of 12.
Ever heard the phrase “lucky number 7.” Seven is considered a lucky number in some cultures.
8. Garden Gate
Garden gate rhymes with the number eight.
9. Doctor’s Orders
Number 9 was the nickname for a laxative given to soldiers by army doctors in World War 2.
10. (Insert Name of the current Prime Minister of the UK)’ s Den
This bingo lingo references number 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the Prime Minister of the UK.
Picture somebody standing. Don’t the legs resemble number 11? However, the reference is explicitly made to chicken legs.
12. One Dozen
There are 12 units in a single dozen
13. Unlucky for Some
13 is the opposite of 7 in bingo numbers. It’s viewed as an unlucky number.
14. The Lawnmower/Valentine’s Day
The earliest version of a lawnmower had 14 blades. Some callers use St. Valentine’s Day to reference the draw of a number 14 bingo ball.
16. Sweet Sixteen/Never Been Kissed
It’s a reference to the age of consent
19. Goodbye Teens
Your 19th birthday marks the end of your teenage years.
21. Key off the door
The reference here is the 21-gun salute that’s common in the military. Twenty-one also used to be the majority or legal age back in the day.
22. Two Little Ducks
Like the bingo number 2, 22 resembles two ducks sitting side-by-side.
23. The Lord is My Shepherd/ Three and Me
“The Lord is my shepherd” are the exact words of Psalms 23 in the bible. And three and me rhymes with 23.
24. Two dozen
Multiply twelve by two, and you get two dozen.
26. Half a Crown/ Pick and Mix
In the traditional UK setting, half a crown consists of two shillings and sixpence. Pick and mix rhymes with 26.
27. Duck and a Crutch/Gateway to Heaven
Number 2 is to duck, as number 7 is to crutch. Gateway to heaven rhymes with 27.
28. Two and Eight/In a State
Cockney slang for a state
30. Dirty Gertie
It’s a rhyme for 30 derived from the statue La Délivrance, installed in North London in 1927. There’s also a song of the same name from the 1900s.
32. Buckle My Shoe
Rhymes with 32.
33. All the Threes/ Fish, Chips, and Peas
33 is the highest combination of 3s in a 90-ball bingo game. Fish, chips, and peas rhyme with a famous traditional English supper.
35. Jump and Jive
Jump and jive’s a dance step. Wouldn’t it be nice to have 35 as the final bingo draw number that wins you a full house a 90-ball bingo game?
36. Three Dozen
36 equals three dozen
44. Droopy drawers
Reference to sagging trousers
52. Danny La Rue/ Chicken Vindaloo
Reference to entertainer Danny La Rue and other numbers ending in 2.
53. Here Comes Herbie
Everybody knows about Herbie, the famous racing VolksWagen Beetle.
54. Clean the Floor
Bingo and house don’t go hand in hand, but clean the floor does rhyme with 53
55. All the Fives/Snakes Alive
55 is the highest combination of 5s in a 90-ball bingo game. Snakes alive is a visual bingo call reference because the fives look like two snakes coiled and ready to launch an attack.
56. Shotts Bus
The bus route from Glasgow to Shotts used to be called Shotts Bus. Also, a marriage license used to cost five shillings and sixpence in ancient Britain
57. Heinz Beans
5 and 7 were the respective lucky numbers of food company Heinz founder and his wife.
59. The Brighton Line
Some say the rhyme comes from train engine 59 (Brighton to London). Others say it’s a prefix for Brighton phone numbers.
62. Tickety Boo/ Turn the Screw
Rhymes with 62
65. Stop Work
The mandatory retirement age in the UK.
66. Clickety Click
Rhymes with 66 just like a train on the tracks.
69. Anyway Up/Meal For Two
The number 69 looks the same when placed upside down
71. Bang on the Drum/J.lo’s Bum
Rhymes with 71
72. Danny La Rue/Six Dozen
Rhymes with 72.
76. Trombones/Was She Worth It?
It’s a pop-culture bingo call that references the lyrics of “The Music Man” musical.
77. Two Little Crutches/Sunset Strip
In reference to two little crutches and the TV show “77 Sunset Strip.”
80. Gandhi’s Breakfast
Eight and zero make up the number 80, so Gandhi ate nothing for breakfast.
83. Time for Tea
Time for tea’s a bingo lingo denoting the UK’s love for tea.
84. Seven Dozen
There are seven dozen in 84.
85. Staying Alive
Rhymes with eighty-five.
86. Between The Sticks
Think about a goalkeeper’s position in a game of soccer.
87.Torquay in Devon
Torquay’s direct reference to the geographic location of Torquay in the county of Devon.
88. Two Fat Ladies
Eighty-eight does look like two fat ladies standing next to each other.
89. Nearly There, Almost There
Eighty-nine precedes ninety, which is the last of bingo numbers in a 90-ball bingo game.
90. Top of the Shop/end of the line / as far as we go
90 is the highest and last number to be drawn in a 90-ball bingo game.