Bingo Numbers Slang Terms
Where do bingo number rhymes originate?
The bingo number rhymes originated in mid-20th century in East London, where people used rhymes to communicate hidden messages. These rhymes soon moved into bingo halls as a way to call all 90 numbers. 42 and 52, for example, can sound the same, so these rhymes served as a way to tell the two numbers apart. As bingo nicknames spread outside London, they took on more regional meanings, and some callers added pop culture references. Below is a complete list of numbers and their nicknames, followed by an analysis of some of the bingo numbers and how their names differ by caller and region.
Full List of bingo numbers and their rhymes
- No. 1 .. Kelly’s eye
- No. 2 .. Little boy blue / Me and you / Peek a boo / One Little Duck
- No. 3 .. Cup of tea /One little flea / Dearie me / You and me / Goodness me,
- No. 4 .. Knock at the door / Shut the door / The one next door
- No. 5 .. The little snake / Man alive / Set of Jacks
- No. 6 .. Up to his tricks / In a fix / Tom Mix / Chopsticks,
- No. 7 .. Lucky seven / A slice of heaven / One little crutch
- No. 8 .. The pearly gate / At the gate / One fat lady / She’s always late
- No. 9 .. Doctor’s orders / China’s luck
- No. 10 .. Big fat hen / Uncle Ben / PM’s den / Downing Street / Cock and hen,
- No. 11 .. Legs eleven / All the ones
- No. 12 .. Monkey’s cousin / One dozen / One and two
- No. 13 . . Unlucky for some / Bakers dozen
- No. 14 . . Valentines day
- No. 15 . . Yet to be kissed / Rugby team / Young and keen,
- No. 16 .. Sweet sixteen / Never been kissed
- No. 17 .. Dancing queen / Posh and Becks
- No. 18 .. Now you can vote
- No. 19 .. Goodbye teens
- No. 20 .. One score / Getting plenty / Blind 20
- No. 21 .. Key of the door / Royal salute,
- No. 22 .. Quack quack / Two little ducks / All the twos / Bishop Desmond
- No. 23 .. A duck and a flea/ Thee and me/ The Lord’s my shepherd/ A duck on a tree
- No. 24 .. Two dozen/ Did you score?/ Do you want some more?
- No. 25 .. Duck and dive/
- No. 26 .. Bed and breakfast/ Half a crown/ Pick and mix
- No. 27 .. Little duck with a crutch / Gateway to heaven
- No. 28 .. Duck & its mate / In a state,
- No. 29 .. Rise and shine / In your prime,
- No. 30 .. Burlington Bertie / Dirty Gertie / Blind 30 / Speed limit (in built-up area, UK) / Flirty thirty / Your face is dirty
- No. 31 .. Get up and run
- No. 32 .. Buckle my Shoe
- No. 33 .. Dirty knees / All the feathers / All the threes / Gertie Lee / Two little fleas / Sherwood forest (all the trees)
- No. 34 .. Ask for more
- No. 35 .. Jump and jive / Flirty wives
- No. 36 .. Three dozen / Perfect (as in 36-24-36)
- No. 37 .. A flea in heaven / More than eleven
- No. 38 .. Christmas cake
- No. 39 .. Those famous steps / All the steps / Jack Benny
- No. 40 .. Two score / Life begins at / Blind 40 / Naughty 40
- No. 41 .. Life’s begun / Time for fun
- No. 42.. That famous street in Manhattan, Whinny the Poo
- No. 43 .. Down on your knees
- No. 44 .. All the fours / Droopy drawers,
- No. 45 .. Halfway house / Halfway there,
- No. 46 .. Up to tricks
- No. 47 .. Four and seven
- No. 48 .. Four dozen
- No. 49 .. PC 49
- No. 50 .. Bulls eye / Blind 50 / Half a century
- No. 51 .. I love my mum / Tweak of the thumb,
- No. 52 .. Weeks in a year/ Pack ‘o cards / Danny La Rue
- No. 53 .. The joker / Stuck in the tree,
- No. 54 .. Clean the floor,
- No. 55 .. Snakes alive / All the fives,
- No. 56 . . Was she worth it?
- No. 57 .. Heinz varieties / All the beans
- No. 58 .. Make them wait / Choo choo Thomas
- No. 59 .. Brighton line (engine 59)
- No. 60 .. Blind 60 / Five dozen / Three score
- No. 61 .. Bakers bun
- No. 62 .. Tickety boo / Turn on the screw
- No. 63 .. Tickle me
- No. 64 .. The Beatles number / Red raw
- No. 65 .. Old age pension / Stop work (retirement age)
- No. 66 .. Clickety click / All the sixes
- No. 67 .. Made in heaven / Argumentative number
- No. 68 .. Saving grace
- No. 69 .. Meal for two / The French connection / The same both ways / Either way up,
- No. 70 .. Three score and ten / Blind 70
- No. 71 .. Bang on the drum / Lucky one
- No. 72 .. A crutch and a duck / Six dozen / Par for the course (golf) / Lucky two
- No. 73 .. Crutch with a flea / Queen B / Under the tree / Lucky three
- No. 74 .. Candy store / Grandmamma of Bingo / Lucky four
- No. 75 .. Lucky five / Strive and strive / Big Daddy / Granddaddy of Bingo
- No. 76 .. Trombones / Seven ‘n’ six – was she worth it? / Lucky six
- No. 77 .. Sunset strip / All the sevens / Two little crutches / The double hockey stick / Lucky seven
- No. 78 .. Heavens gate / Lucky eight
- No. 79 .. One more time / Lucky nine
- No. 80 .. Gandhi’s breakfast / Blind 80 / Eight and blank / There you go matey
- No. 81 .. Fat lady and a little wee / Stop and run / Corner shot
- No. 82 .. Fat lady with a duck / Straight on through
- No. 83 .. Fat lady with a flea / Time for tea / Ethel’s Ear
- No. 84 .. Seven dozen
- No. 85 .. Staying alive
- No. 86 .. Between the sticks
- No. 87 .. Fat lady on crutches / Torquay in Devon
- No. 88 .. Two fat ladies / All the eights
- No. 89 .. Nearly there / All but one
- No. 90 .. Top of the shop / Top of the house / End of the line / Blind 90,
Bingo Calls Based on Bingo Numbers Rhymes
Of the 90 total bingo calls, more than 50 take their names from rhymes with their numbers. If you can’t remember a particular number of a nickname, you can create your own by forming a rhyme. In fact, as bingo nicknames change locally, one of the main causes is tweaking the rhymes and making them region specific.
A few rhyming bingo numbers stick about because they have interesting cultural or visual references that lead to the nickname. Below are a few of the most interesting ones, many of which have regional alternatives depending on the caller’s personal preference.
8. Garden Gate
Based on the hidden message origins of U.K. rhymes, the “garden gate” is possibly a reference to a meeting place or drop-off point for smugglers and gang members.
15. Young and Keen
For a different rhyme, you can use the nickname “rugby team,” for the number of players involved in the sport.
17. Dancing Queen
Based off the 1976 hit by Abba, this number gets its name from the opening lines of the song “Dancing Queen”: “You are the Dancing Queen, young and sweet, only 17.”
26. Pick and Mix
The number 26 is also called “bed-and-breakfast” because of the traditional cost, two shillings and sixpence — otherwise known as “half a crown.”
51. Tweak of the Thumb
Depending on the region and bingo caller, this nickname might be replaced with “I love my mum.”
52. Danny La Rue
Some audiences prefer the nickname “weeks in a year,” but Danny La Rue is a more modern pop culture reference, based on the Irish singer known for his cross-dressing.
62. Turn the Screw
Some Brits say “tickety boo,” English slang for “good” or “in order.
Calls Based on The Bingo Numbers Shape
If you’re not sure of the rhyme, some numbers make it possible to remember the nickname through their shapes. The number two looks like a duck, providing the nickname “one little duck” as an alternative call. The number five appears to be a snake, so the number 55 is “snakes alive” because the figure combines the shape with the rhyme.
Anything with the number eight can refer to a fat lady. Finally, the number seven looks like a crutch, so when the number 27 isn’t called as “gateway to heaven,” it’s “duck with a crutch” to pair the two look-alikes together.
Below are a few more bingo numbers that use appearance to derive a nickname.
11. Legs 11
This number is easy to remember because the two ones look like a pair of legs. Historically, patrons would shout a wolf whistle when this number was heard, but some bingo halls view the practice as sexist. Some patrons have been kicked out from bingo halls if they utter a wolf whistle.
22. Two Little Ducks
The ducks return for number 22, and the numeral is often called “quack quack” as slang. Some circles have dubbed this number “Bishop Desmond,” in honour of South African social rights activist Desmond Tutu.
25. Duck and DIVE
This one is easy to remember: While the duck in the number two is cute, you want to dive out of the way of the snake in the number five. This number is also a convenient rhyme.
44. Droopy Drawers
Along with number 11, a droopy drawers visualisation always elicits a few giggles from the crowd of bingo players in the hall.
69. Either Way Up
Also known as “the same both ways,” each numeral of 69 can be flipped upside down and look exactly the same as its opposite.
72. Six Dozen
If the number 27 is “a duck and a crutch,” then your caller might call “72 a crutch and a duck.”
77. Double Hockey Sticks
If the number seven is lucky, then the number 77 has double the luck. Some callers might use the term “double sevens,” “lucky sevens,” or “two little crutches” for a visual nickname.
80. Eight and Blank
While the number eight and a blank (or zero) is easier to understand, this call used to be known as “Gandhi’s breakfast”. People imagined that the appearance of the number is what Indian independence movement leader Mahatma Gandhi would look like if he sat cross-legged with a plate in front of him.
82. Straight on Through
The number eight also provides a reference to curvy women, which means 82 is alternatively nicknamed “fat lady with a duck,” playing off the imagery with the number two.
88. Two Fat Ladies
This is another image-based number, where the curves of the eights look like two large ladies sitting next to each other.
Historical References in Bingo Calls
The bulk of the historical references in bingo terms come from the 1950s and ’60s. During this period, bingo began to reach its peak popularity, and many of the nicknames formed in these years have stuck around for decades. However, some people are calling for modern bingo numbers updates to the nicknames to make them more relevant to today’s players and appeal to younger generations.
The easiest way to broaden the appeal is to pick traditionally rhyming numbers and assign pop culture references to them. For example, the number 32 would be called “Jimmy Choo” instead of “buckle my shoe,” 84 could be “Dumbledore,” and 42 “Winnie the Pooh” could be rebranded as “Pikachu,” the Pokémon character.
Several top historical references can be found in bingo call nicknames. Check out the ones below to see which nicknames you already knew and which ones you think could be updated for contemporary audiences.
1. Kelly’s Eye
Most people believe this number is a reference to Ned Kelly, one of Australia’s greatest folk heroes. Others claim this phrase is simply military slang.
9. Doctor’s Orders
This call stems from World War II, where British doctors handed out the number nine pill to soldiers that weren’t diagnosed with a specific condition. This powerful laxative was meant to clear the system of ills.
10. Cameron’s Den
While this number is a rhyme, the nickname changes each time a new prime minister is elected. Currently, the number 10 is also known as “David’s den,” after David Cameron, but the number has also been called “Tony’s den” for Tony Blair and “Maggie’s den” for Margaret Thatcher.
21. Royal Salute
This number refers to the 21-gun salute presented at royal and military ceremonies.
30. Dirty Gertie
What rhymes with 30? Try “Dirty Gertie From Bizerte,” a humorous song belted out by soldiers during World War II.
“The 39 Steps” was a famous movie by Alfred Hitchcock that debuted in 1935. The film is still popular today.
42. Winnie The Pooh
This rhyme comes from the stories of the honey-loving storybook bear and his adventures by A. A. Milne. The Walt Disney franchise picked up the story in 1965.
This call is based on the show “The Adventures of P.C. 49,” which aired from 1946–53. The show’s plot tells the stories of an unconventional police constable solving cases in London. Some bingo halls actually use the term “police constable” when making the call. Alternatively, callers may use the phrase “one more time” to rhyme with 49.
56. Was She Worth It?
During the 1950s, the cost of a marriage license was five shillings and sixpence. Women players have traditionally shouted back “every penny!” in response to the call.
57. Heinz Varieties
Heinz is known for having 57 varieties of canned beans. Even though the company actually sells more products, the founder, Henry Heinz, decided that 57 was his lucky number and stuck with this figure.
59. Brighton Line
A person can travel 59 minutes by train from Brighton to London. Hence, the Brighton Line is 59.
This call takes its cue from the 1972 hit movie and musical “The Music Man.” “Seventy-six trombones led the big parade” is a phrase that forms part of the lyrics.
87. Torquay in Devon
This simple rhyme takes its origins from the town of Torquay, a seaside resort town in Devon, in the southwest region of England.
Classic Calla in Bingo Calls
Along with the numbers that resemble animals and objects, bingo callers hit certain milestones during the game that they can use instead of traditional nicknames. The first option is counting the dozens. The number 12 is “one dozen,” 24 is “two dozen,” and on up until “seven dozen” at the number 84. If you can easily calculate your multiples of 12, then you never have to worry about remembering these numbers.Below are a few other milestones that you will reach during your journey through the bingo game. These figures should be easy to remember as long as you can count to 90.
7. Lucky Seven
Seven has been traditionally considered a lucky number, which is why the figure sticks when used as a bingo call.
13. Unlucky for Some
If seven is a lucky number, then 13 can be considered unlucky. Some hotels and airlines even skip the 13th floor or rows to avoid any perceived bad luck associated with that number.
14. Valentines Day
This little reminder to the gentlemen in the audience highlights the fact that Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14.
16. Sweet 16
The “Sweet 16″ is one of the most significant birthdays for teenage girls, similar to a quinceñera. This number celebrates that special milestone and sets the stage for other “milestone ages” during the rest of the teen years.
18. Coming of Age
This age denotes when teens are considered adults. An alternative bingo sayings nickname for this age is “now you can vote.”
19. Goodbye Teens
After you hit your “Sweet 16″ and come of age at 18, you say goodbye to your teenage years before entering your 20s at age 19. This age is the last age reference in bingo calls until you reach the retirement numbers.
20. One Score
Score is an old word for the number 20, as referenced in Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”: “Four score and seven years ago.” Like the dozens, callers can refer to scores every 20 numbers, with “two score” for 40, “three score” for 60, and so on.
24. Two Dozen
If you don’t like the dozens, callers can also refer to this number as “did you score?”
45. Halfway There
Bingo numbers reach 90, so the number 45 represents the halfway mark.
50. Half a Century
Alternative names for this number are “Snow White’s number” because of the song, “Heigh-Ho (Five-O) It’s Off to Work We Go” or “Hawaii Five-0″ for Americans.
65. Old Age Pension
This age represents the traditional age when people retire and start collecting their pensions. The bingo caller might also say “stop work” or “time to retire.”
89. Nearly There
The bingo numbers caller can also refer to the numeral 89 as “all but one,” because the numeral is only one number away from 90.
90. Top of the Shop
This nickname honours the last number in the bingo roll call. Some bingo callers might say “the end of the line,”
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