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Meaning of Bingo Numbers – Bingo Calls

If you’ve ever played or watched bingo in a traditional bingo hall, or even if you’ve just dabbled in some online bingo, you’ve probably noticed some strange bingo names that you don’t understand. It’s not as simple as saying 1, 2, 3… and you’re not mistaken if you think you heard something about little ducks or Winnie the pooh.

How Does Modern Bingo Work?

Before we get into the bingo terminology, we thought we’d go over the basics of bingo to refresh your memory or show you what it’s all about if you’ve never played before.

There are various types of bingo, but in general, it is played by crossing off the numbers on your ticket as they are called out. You win the game if you cross off all the numbers on your ticket before anyone else.

The number of numbers on your ticket will be determined by the type of game you are playing, such as 90 balls or 75 balls. The number of numbers on your ticket will be the same as the number of numbers called out by the bingo callers.

Don’t be confused by the word ‘balls’ in the name of your game; this is simply because the numbers being called out used to be printed on balls. With the invention of bingo sites, however, almost all bingo balls are generated electronically.

Bingo Lingo Code

Back to “Bingo Lingo.” In traditional bingo rhymes, bingo numbers are frequently called out. If you’re new to online bingo, hearing “Two Fat Ladies” or other modern abbreviations and bingo sayings may be perplexing. Don’t be alarmed if your fellow bingo players start using strange terms; bingo is a very sociable game, and all you have to do is learn the bingo slang meaning, and you’ll understand it in no time.

How Did the Rhymes Come About?

The majority of bingo terms associated with numbers are rhymes. They were first used in London in the mid-twentieth century to transmit secret or hidden messages. These rhymes were quickly adopted by bingo players, who used them in bingo halls to ensure that all 90 letters were easily clarified when called out. In a large hall, the numbers 15 and 50 can sound very similar, so they came up with rhymes/nicknames to distinguish the letters. As the use of these nicknames spread, they evolved from location to location, and some new bingo phrases were added.

Here is a complete list of bingo slang meanings for numbers and other strange words that you may encounter if you play bingo online or in person.

Names for Bingo Numbers

First 10 Bingo Number Calls

1 – Kelly’s vision

This bingo saying may refer to Ned Kelly, one of Australia’s greatest folk heroes, but many believe it is simply military slang.

2 – One small duck

The number 2 resembles a small duckling!

3 – A cup of tea

Because the British are particularly fond of tea, and purely for rhyme’s sake. Then start the kettle!

4 – Make a knock on the door

Is anyone there?! This phrase rhymes with the number four.

5 – Man still alive

Another excellent bingo call sheet rhyme.

6 – Tom Mix/1/2 dozen

Tom Mix was the first Western star in America, appearing in 291 films. This rhyming bingo call honors his legacy. A dozen equals twelve, and half of twelve equals six, which is the alternative bingo saying the caller could use.

7 – Lucky number seven

In many cultures, the number 7 is considered lucky. There are seven days in a week, seven colors in the rainbow, and seven notes on a musical scale.

8 – Garden gate

This saying rhymes with the number 8, but there’s more to the story of this phone call. According to legend, the ‘garden gate’ was a code for a secret meeting or drop-off point.

9 – Doctor’s Orders

Number 9 was the name of a pill given out by army doctors to soldiers who were feeling under the weather during World War II. This potent laxative was said to rid the body of all ills!

10 – Blind 10 

Bingo callers will always include the name of the current Prime Minister in this call. It alludes to 10 Downing Street.

11-21 Number Bingo Calls

11 – Eleventh Leg

One of several calls relating to the shape of the number. The two 1s resemble a pair of slim legs. What a woo!

12 – A Monkey’s Cousin

A dozen is made up of 12 pieces.

13 – Unlucky for Some

Many superstitious people believe that the number 13 is unlucky, but if you call home on that day, it’s lucky for you!

14 – Valentine’s Day

In reference to February 14th, the international day of love.

15 – Young and Keen

A simple rhyme. 

16 – Sweet 16

The age of sixteen is a significant milestone. You’re not quite an adult, but you’re not a child either.

17 – Old Ireland

This day falls on St. Patrick’s Day, which is celebrated on March 17th in Old Ireland.

18 – Coming of Age

This is the point at which you are considered an adult. “Now you can vote!” some callers exclaim.

19 – Goodbye, teenagers

The last year of adolescence!

20 – Blind 20, One Score

A score is made up of 20 units. The phrase “getting plenty” also rhymes with the number.

21 – The Royal Salute / The Key to the Door

In a royal or military salute, 21 guns are fired. 21 was also the traditional age at which you would leave your parents’ home and have your own keys.

22-31 Number Bingo Calls

22 – Two Small Ducks

Again, this call exists to describe the shape formed by the numbers.

23 – Thee and Me

This is the first phrase of Psalm 23 in the Old Testament, and it is a biblical reference.

24 – Two Dozen

12 equals one dozen, and 24 equals two dozen.

25 – Dive and Duck

Another rhyme, but it’s also said that the number 2 is a duck, and you want to avoid the number 5, which looks like a snake! That has to be one of the strangest bingo terms ever.

26 – A Half Crown

This proverb is derived from predecimalization (old money), when two shillings and sixpence equaled half a crown.

27 – Heaven’s Gate

If you use this bingo rhyming slang, you’ll be in heaven!

28 – Overweight

Rhyming slang from Cockney. “He was in a right two and eight,” which means “He was in a bad way!””

29 – Rise and Shine

This cheerful saying rhymes with the numbers.

30 – Dirty Gertie, Blind 30

This phrase, which rhymes with 30, is derived from the nickname for the statue La Délivrance, a bronze sculpture of a naked lady installed in North London in 1927. There was also the raucous Dirty Gertie from Bizerte, which was sung by Allied soldiers in North Africa during WWII.

31. Get up and Run

When you hear this rhyming call for 31, get up and run.

32 – Buckle my Shoe

The phrase and the numbers rhyme.

33-43 Number Bingo Calls

33 – Blind Thirty, Three Feathers, Gertie Lee, Dirty Knee

In a 90-ball game, 33 represents all of the threes available. It also rhymes with the traditional English chippy fish supper. Yum!

34 – Ask For More

A fantastic rhyme, especially after 33!

35 – Jive and Jump

If you call house number 35, you’ll be doing this dance step.

36 – Three Dozen

Simply put, three lots of twelve.

37 – More than eleven

Many numbers are greater than 11, but this one rhymes!

38 – Christmas Cake

Another example of cockney rhyming slang.

39 – 39 Steps

From Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film 39 Steps.

40 – Life Begins

Life starts at 40! Who are we to argue with such a well-known bingo call?

41 – Time for Fun 

Life has begun, so let’s have some fun!

42 – Winnie the Pooh 

A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh book A. Milne was published for the first time in 1926. In 1965, the honey-loving bear joined the Walt Disney family.

43 – Bend your Knees

This phrase was frequently used by soldiers during the war in wartime Britain.

44-54 Number Bingo Calls

44 – Sagging Drawers

It’s said to be a visual reference to sagging pants!

45 – Halfway There

Traditional British bingo games have 90 balls, and 45 is half of 90.

46 – Up to Tricks

The number 46 rhymes with this phrase.

47 – The Numbers Four and Seven

It’s not particularly inspiring, but it does the job. Can you come up with a better one?

48 – Four Dozen

4 x 12 = 48

49 – Rise and Shine

This call is inspired by the old TV show “The Adventures of P.C.” ’49,’ which ran from 1946 to 1953. The show followed the exploits of an unconventional police constable who solved crimes in London.

50 – A half-century

A full century is 100, and half of that is 50.

51 – A thumb twitch

A peculiar call that rhymes. “I adore my mother” could also be substituted.

52 – Danny La Rue

Another great rhyme about the Irish cross-dressing singer and entertainer who rose to prominence in the mid-1940s.

53 – Herbie arrives

The VW Beetle Herbie, which appeared in a number of Walt Disney films in the 1960s, has the serial number 53. “Beep, beep!” players frequently respond.”

54-64 Number Bingo Calls

54 – Mop the floor

Nobody wants to think about housework while playing bingo, but this song has been around for a long time.

55 – Snakes Alive

Another visually appealing bingo call. The two fives resemble snakes about to spring.

56 – Shotts Bus

The original route number from Glasgow to Shotts. A marriage license used to cost five shillings and sixpence. “Was she worth it?” the caller inquired. “Many players would respond, “Every penny!”

57 – Heinz varieties number 

The number in the logo of the food company Heinz. The founder reportedly chose the number 57 to assert that he had the largest selection of pickles. His lucky number was five, and his wife’s was seven.

58 – Keep them waiting

This is yet another rhymed call. “Choo choo, Thomas!” players frequently respond.”

59 – Brighton Line 

There are various theories as to where this comes from. Some believe it is the number of the train from Brighton to London, engine 59, while others believe that all original phone numbers in Brighton began with 59.

60 – 5 dozen / Grandma’s getting wild

Our favorite reference has returned! 5 x 12 = 60. 60 almost rhymes with frisky and is the traditional retirement age for women to draw a state pension.

61 – Baker’s bun 

The number rhymes with this bingo call.

62 – Tickety-boo / Turn the screw

These two phrases rhyme with the number. Tickety-boo is colloquial for “good” or “going well.”

63 – Make me laugh

Another amusing rhyme, but its origins are unknown.

64 – Raw red

This bingo call may not rhyme with the number 64, but it appears to have stood the test of time.

65 – Pension

The traditional retirement age for men in the United Kingdom.

66 – Click, click, click

This fantastic rhyme sounds like a train speeding down a track.

67 – Stairway to Heaven 

Another zany rhyming bingo call.

For a full comprehensive list of Bingo calls click on the link. 

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