Bingo Calls, Nicknames & Jargon: The Full List
Bingo Calls, Nicknames & Jargon: The Full List
Bingo calls & nicknames are part of the reason why bingo is so entertaining - but of course, they also serve a purpose. In the traditional game of bingo, you would have one (often male) bingo caller struggling to keep the attention of a loud bingo hall. Although men were usually asked to do this because we assume a male voice can project more, the numbers called out can be misinterpreted.
For example, 42 and 52 may sound the same to someone at the back of the room or sitting close to a chatty bingo player group. So these bingo calls & nicknames can help distinguish the bingo call outs - rather than just just screeching “1, 54, 73”. The bingo phrases are actually catchy and witty so that bingo callers and players can easily remember them. Otherwise, you can print out the bingo calls list on this page.
Depending where you’re from, you may be used to playing 75, 80 or 90-ball bingo. However, not to worry - we have a full list of bingo names and bingo rhymes from 1 all the way to 90. Or rather from Kelly’s Eye to Top of the Shop (more on this soon). Bingo terms or bingo phrases spread not only in the UK, but worldwide. So naturally, you will find bingo slang across the UK, US, Australia and more - with some pop culture references too.
Bingo Throwback – How did it all start?
It seems that bingo first originated in Italy as early as the 1500s - which makes it one of the oldest gambling forms today. The Italian lottery in 1530 was called Lo Gioco del Lotto D’Italia and it seems to have been the origin of the game. Bingo later travelled through Europe and the US and evolved into the game we know and love today.
By 1929 it was referred to as “Beano” - another name for Bingo back then. A toy salesman at that time, called Edwin S. Lowe, brough the gem to his home state in the US and played it with friends. During one exhilarating session, someone shouted “Bingo” instead - and the name seemed to have stuck. You can tell from the bingo terminology that the game has evolved with pop culture in different regions. Like the reason behind the bingo meaning of number 1.
You may also notice that some bingo calls have some military inspiration behind them. This is because soldiers during World War Two played a bingo version called Housey Housey. So many bingo nicknames took on their influences of the time, including military terms, rhymes and funny rude bingo calls.
Bingo callers used to take pride in their knowledge and skill, and competed in competitions for celebrity status. Nowadays, it’s all shifted to the online sphere, but you will still see a virtual free bingo caller online on most bingo sites. And if you’re setting up your own game, there are many options for a bingo calling app or bingo number generator online.
Full List of Bingo Calls UK and Beyond (1-90)
All the popular, funny bingo calls will include some poetic rhyming phrase or word. So it’s exciting to be playing and waiting for which one is called out next. But wait a minute - what’s this talk about fat ladies and ducks and who is Kelly anyway? There are some strange bingo words, phrases or bingo jokes.
So we’ll explain the bingo meaning - or number rather - in each case. Below is a list of numbers and their corresponding bingo calling names. Plus some explanation on each one and how it may differ for example, when it comes to American bingo calls or Australian bingo calls.
1 – Kelly’s eye
The Kelly’s eye bingo meaning is a bit ambiguous - in that many believe it is a reference to Ned Kelly. One of the biggest folk heroes in Australian history. However, others believe it’s just another form of military bingo slang. We do not know what it would refer to in military terms though.
2 – One little duck
This one is a simple one - the shape of the number two looks just like a little duck - so visually it’s one of the easiest to remember.
3 – Cup of tea
Some of the bingo calling phrases on this list are actually bingo rhymes so that players and bingo callers could memorize them easily. This is a standard on the Bingo calls UK list because tea is such a British staple - and it rhymes with the number three.
4 – Knock at the door
Knock knock - who’s there? The knock at the door bingo call is another fun rhyme.
5 – Man alive
It should be pretty easy to spot by now - but of course Man alive rhymes with the number five. It’s also a phrase that used to be commonly used in the US, so we wouldn’t be surprised if it features on American bingo calls lists. It was also a popular BBC documentary in the 1960s.
6 – Tom Mix / Half a dozen
In the UK, you will most likely hear or see the reference to number 6 as half a dozen - for obvious reasons. Six is half a dozen. In American bingo calls, it will likely be one of the alternative bingo calls: Tom Mix. He was an American film star, appearing in almost 300 Westerns and silent movies. Some variations can also include “Tom’s tricks” - another rhyme.
7 – Lucky seven
Many cultures consider seven a lucky number so it’s no surprise that it has found its way to bingo - a game based on pure luck. Players also love the number seven for its multiple associations. For example, there are 7 days in the week, 7 colours of the rainbow and 7 notes on a musical scale.
8 – Garden Gate
It is rumoured that the ‘Garden Gate’ was actually a secret code used for hidden meeting spots or drop off points. It also happens to rhyme with number eight - so here we are. There could also be many famous gates refenced, like for example Golden Gate. A playful, modern alternative relevant to our generation is “Tinder Date”.
9 – Doctor’s orders
The Doctors orders bingo name is another military remnant. During the second world war, there was a pill given out to soldiers by army doctors, called Number 9. It was actually a laxative and was supposed to cure you of all ails in no time. The Bingo doctor’s orders are to have maximum fun today.
10 – [Prime Minister’s name]’s den
We’ve seen this one change every four years or so because callers need to keep it up to date. They will just insert the name of the current prime minister or leader into this call. It references number 10 Downing Street in London - the prime minister’s residence.
11 – Legs eleven
Like the number two, the legs eleven bingo call that references its numerical shape. The two ones in parallel look like two (rather skinny) legs.
12 – One dozen
No explanation needed really - but 12 makes a dozen.
13 – Unlucky for some
The opposite of number seven - Many believe in the superstition that the number 13 is an unlucky one. “Unlucky for some” because it may prove lucky for others - especially if you make a line or a house!
14 – Valentine’s Day
This is of course a pop culture reference to the international day of love and romance - February 14th.
15 – Young and keen
Keen rhymes with fifteen - but it can also turn into one of the rude bingo calls. A variation is ‘rugby team’.
16 – Sweet 16
Turning 16 is usually a bit of a big deal and marks a special day in most countries. Some callers may also add “and never been kissed”.
17 – Dancing queen
Clearly this call made its way on this list in 1976 when ABBA released their hit single ‘Dancing Queen’ - “young and sweet, only seventeen!” This can also be adapted to “selfie queen” for a more modern take.
18 – Coming of age
An alternative call is also “Now you can vote!” - This one signifies officially becoming an adult and gaining full on responsibilities.
19 – Goodbye teens
The age of nineteen is your last teenage year so this call is a farewell to youth in a sense. A more risque version is “Keep ‘em keen” - however this could also be interpreted in many ways, like keen for bingo!
20 – One score / Getting Plenty
A score is made up of 20 units of something, so this one is fairly standard. However, an alternative is the bingo phrase ‘getting plenty’ which not-so incidentally rhymes with the number twenty. It can also be construed as one of the rude bingo calls by insinuation.
21 – Royal salute / Key of the door
In a royal or military salute, there are 21 guns fired. Also, traditionally, 21 was the age you would move out into the world and get your own home with your own set of keys ‘to the door’. Some bingo callers may also add “adult fun” since most things, in many countries, become legal when you turn 21.
22 – Two little ducks
The two little ducks bingo name again describes the shape of two twos - just little two ducks side by side. A more modern take is “I don’t know about you” - referencing a popular Taylor Swift song named 22 from 2012.
23 – You / Thee and me
Or Thee and Me. In some circles you may even get a biblical reference - phrase one of Psalm 23 in the Old Testament.
24 – Two dozen
Self-explanatory once again - If 12 is one dozen, then 24 makes two dozen. A more modern one can be “lads on tour”.
25 – Duck and dive
This is one of the more far fetched bingo terms. So like the 22 you have a duck, and the one next to it is another duck upside down - hence the five. Some niche bingo games may also call this “Adele”, referencing the famous UK singer’s third hit album.
26 – Half a crown / Pick and Mix
In the old days, two shillings (20) and sixpence were equal to half a crown. Alternatively Pick and Mix is more of a rhyme to remember the 26 bingo call by. Half a crown was also the traditional cost of a bed and breakfast back in the day, so there may be a reference to this in your bingo room.
27 – Gateway to heaven
Seven rhymes with heaven - but as for the gateway part - your guess is as good as ours.
28 - In a state / Overweight
Overweight is a rhyme, but if this is too far, there’s another cockney rhyme that means someone is not feeling well: “He was in a right two and eight”.
29 – Rise and shine
The numbers rhyme with this cheery saying.
30 – Dirty Gertie
The bingo call for 30, Dirty Gertie, is obviously a rhyming one but there’s a story behind it. This is the nickname for the bronze statue La Délivrance in North London erected in 1927, which is of a naked lady. She is also the protagonist of the dirty song called Dirty Gertie from Bizerte, which Allied soldiers in North Africa used to sing during the Second World War. You may even come across the bingo call: Burlington Bertie (from Bow) which was another song from the Music Hall era.
31 – Get up and run
A simple rhyme for the number 31 is ‘Get up and run’ - but we’re not sure where this originates. It may come from the military services in that Sergeants could have shouted it at squaddies. Do not get up and run during a game of bingo though, because you may miss a house!
32 – Buckle my shoe / Jimmy Choo
One, two - buckle my shoe, three, four - knock at the door - this is a popular English nursery rhyme meant to teach counting numbers and surely one that has stuck in all our memories. Thirty-two, buckle my shoe is a natural rhyme. One of the more modern bingo calls is Jimmy Choo - a high-end shoe that became popular, particularly in Britain, when Princess Diana wore it.
33 – All the threes / Fish, chips and peas / Dirty Knee
The 33 bingo call shows all the threes available in 90-ball bingo so “all the threes” is a standard bingo call, but a more traditional English call is “Fish, chip and peas” - a beloved chippy dinner for Brits. “Dirty Knee” is also another popular rhyme for this number.
34 – Ask for more
Another great rhyme, and makes total sense following the number 33. However, this rhyming phrase can also be referencing the iconic ‘Oliver Twist” novel by Charles Dickens, later turned into a popular musical in 1963, and it still plays today.
35 – Jump and jive
The Jive dance was popular in the 1940s - the European version of the American Jitterbug, however, the Jive is famous anyway. Feel free to do this dance step if you make a house on number 35.
36 – Three dozen
This is pretty self explanatory - three times twelve - one of the standard, easy bingo calls.
37 – More than eleven / one night in heaven
We still do not know the origin of this, and a lot of number are in fact more than eleven, so we will just categorize this as a simple rhyme. Same with “one night in heaven” - this rhyme could reference anything fun and makes you feel like you’re in heaven.
38 – Christmas cake
Yet another rhyme, however this one seems to come from cockney rhyming slang.
39 – 39 steps
“The 39 Steps” is a famous Alfred Hitchcock movie from 1935 about a spy ring that is still quite well-known today. Probably because it was re-made in 1959 and then again in 1978.
40 – Life begins / naughty forty
The number forty on this bingo calls list is always age-related because forty is a milestone birthday in most western countries. There was a self-help book almost a century ago that bore this title, and it has since then become a catch-phrase. Well do you agree? Alternatively, you can reference “naughty forty” as a bingo call, as a similar way of saying people let loose more at a certain age.
41 – Time for fun
Again age-related and following the previous bingo call. If life begins at forty, then forty-one is time for some fun!
42 – Winnie the Pooh / Manhattan Street
The first rhyming bingo slang refers to the one and only Winnie the Pooh children’s character. The loveable, honey-loving bear came alive in A. A. Milne’s books from 1926 and later in Disney cartoons in 1965. It would be hard to find a bingo player who does not know who he is. Meanwhile, “The manhattan street” is one of the American bingo calls - referencing the classic 1933 movie “42nd Street”.
43 – Down on your knees
This could mean anything really, but we think it may come from war-time Britain and describes a stance soldiers often had.
44 – Droopy drawers
This bingo call is part rhyme, part visualisation of the two fours, which can look like really baggy underwear. All the Fours is a standard, clean version though.
45 – Halfway there
In UK bingo, 45 is half of the 90 possible balls in the game. In American bingo, it’s “Cowboy’s friend” - after a Colt 45 revolver.
46 – Up to tricks
47 – Four and seven
48 – Four dozen
4 x 12 = 48
49 – PC / Rise and Shine
No this is not a reference to a computer. It’s actually referring to the old TV programme ‘The Adventures of P.C. 49,’ which aired from 1946–53. So many bingo calls come from that era. Anyway - the show follows an unconventional police constable solving cases in London. Otherwise, bingo callers can use “one more time” to rhyme with 49.
50 – Half a century / Hawaii-Five-Oh / Blind fifty
The latter is common in American bingo since Hawaii-five-o was a US police drama in the 1970s and a more recent re-make. “Blind Fifty” is also bullseye on a dartboard.
51 – Tweak of the thumb
Can also be substituted with “I love my mum.”
52 – Danny La Rue
A famous, irish drag artist - but some players may prefer “weeks in a year”.
53 – Stuck in the tree / Here comes Herbie
Fifty-three is the number of the famous VW Beetle Herbie.
54 – Clean the floor
We’re not sure why housework is a feature here but this rhyme is a pretty old one.
55 – All the fives / Snakes alive
The second is another visual bingo call since two fives resemble snakes.
56 – Was she worth it? / Shotts Bus
Five shillings and sixpence was the price of a marriage licence back then, and it’s an interactive call because usually when the caller asks “Was she worth it?”, players tend to answer “Every penny!” But in some regions, “Shotts” is used since 56 was the original number of the bus route from Glasgow to Shotts.
57 – Heinz varieties
This number references Heinz, a UK brand of beans known for having 57 varieties of canned beans. The company actually sells more products, but the founder, Henry Heinz, stuck with 57 because it was supposedly his lucky number. Five was his favourite number, and seven was his wife’s.
58 – Make them wait
A simple rhyme.
59 – Brighton Line
There are mixed ideas on the origin of the 59 bingo call. You can travel 59 minutes by train from Brighton to London, the train from Brighton to London has engine number 59. Hence the 59 bingo call. However, others say that the bingo call for 59 stems from the fact that all phone numbers in Brighton start with 5-9.
60 – Five dozen / Three Score / Blind Sixty
All pretty obvious, but if you want a more interesting one, you can use “Grandma’s getting frisky”.
61 – Baker’s bun
62 – Turn the screw / Tickety-boo
Both rhymes are slang for ‘good’ or ‘going well’.
63 – Tickle me
Another cheeky rhyme.
64 – Red raw
Quite an old almost-rhyme.
65 – Old age pension
The age you can collect a pension in the UK, and many countries.
66 – All the Sixes / Clickety click
67 – Stairway to heaven
Perhaps from the famous Led Zeppelin song in the seventies.
68 – Saving grace
69 – Any way up
Just because these numbers look the same even upside down.
70 – Three score and ten
71 – Bang on the drum
A rhyme that can be substituted.
72 – Six dozen
73 – Queen bee
A buzzing, rhyming call.
74 – Candy store / Hit the floor
More rhymes, the second likely referring to dancing, not falling.
75 – Strive and strive
Like striving for a house. It’s also the highest American number - called “Big Daddy”.
76 – Trombones
The bingo call for 76 refers to ‘76 Trombones’, which is in a popular song from the hit musical, The Music Man.
77 – All the Sevens / Sunset strip / Double hockey sticks
77 Sunset Strip was a popular 1950s/60s TV show, but the number 77 also looks like hockey sticks.
78 – Heaven’s gate
79 – One more time
One more rhyme.
80 – Eight and Blank / Ghandi’s breakfast
The first is clear but the second may be because Gandhi allegedly ‘ate nothing’ during the Indian independence movement - so, eight nothing. Some imagine Ghandi sitting cross-legged next to an empty plate.
81 – Stop and run
A confusing bingo rhyme.
82 – Straight on through
Possibly referencing trains passing stations. Alternatively you can call it “fat lady with a duck” (visual representation).
83 – Time for tea
Bingo and brews.
84 – Seven dozen
85 – Staying alive
Yes, the Bee Gees, but this call was likely around before that!
86 – Between the sticks
Borrowed from football terminology and references goalies.
87 – Torquay in Devon
Torquay is a seaside town in Devon, southwest England.
88 – Two fat ladies
The 2 fat ladies bingo call is a visual representation of two bigger, curvy ladies next to each other.
89 – Nearly there
A reference to 89 being just one shy of 90 – which is the last of the Bingo calls UK version.
90 – Top of the shop / end of the line / as far as we go
Number 90 is the last of the bingo calls UK version, so this bingo nickname honours that.
How to play at Paddy Power Bingo
Thankfully, bingo chat keeps these bingo calls alive as players share and have a giggle. Now let’s quickly do an online bingo play refresh. There’s no skill or strategy, and it’s simple to learn and play, no matter the variation. The bingo calls are generated while you just cross off or blot the numbers off your ticket. This will contain various sequences of numbers and if you cross off a line, pattern or house before anyone else, you win a prize. The amount of numbers on a ticket depends on the bingo you’re playing - 75-ball, 80-ball or 90-ball. Sign up for paddy Power Bingo and start playing our fun bingo games, including slingo bingo games.
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