Those who have played or even watched a classic bingo game or even those who have played some online bingo have probably noticed that some weird bingo names are sometimes used. These bingo calls might seem hard to understand because doctor’s orders bingo doesn’t really make any sense unless you truly know the lingo.
Sure calling bingo numbers could be simple and you could just hear the actual numbers, but some funny bingo calls here and there definitely make everything more entertaining. So, it’s time you got up to speed on your bingo number names so that if you ever find yourself in a position where you hear some strange or very rude bingo calls you know what they mean and can actually enjoy yourself rather than panic that you’re clueless as to what’s happening.
Bingo Lingo Origin, Tradition & Purpose
In traditional bingo, bingo numbers are sometimes called out using different kinds of rhymes. Bingo is quite a social game, so it makes sense that bingo slang would be used and things would transform to make players more knit together by making them share a common language. Plus, it might get boring to just hear numbers from 1 to 90, so using bingo calls with a twist keeps things interesting.
You probably already know how to win at bingo, but you might not yet know exactly what different bingo calls exist, what they mean and how they first appeared.
Most of the bingo calls you might hear are rhymes and they come from the UK as they started becoming a thing in the middle of the 20th century. At first, these bingo calls UK were used to pass secret messages, but in time they just became the norm. This happened because regular numbers sometimes sound similar and in a big hall with many players, people might get confused.
But if instead of saying 9 you would say number 9 doctor’s orders then surely people would have an easier time understanding. But why is number 9 doctor’s orders? Well, let’s find out what all numbers’ bingo nicknames are and a little more info about how they came to be.
1-90 Bingo Numbers, Bingo Nicknames and Bingo Calls Meaning
1 – Kelly’s eye – There are two different theories here: one that it refers to Ned Kelly, an Australian folk hero; and the other that it’s military slang.
2 – One little duck – This is because the number 2 looks like a little duckling
3 – Cup of tea – this is mostly because it rhymes, but also because the British are really into tea.
4 – Knock at the door – again, an easy to remember phrase that rhymes with the number 4.
5 – Man alive – same
6 – Half a dozen – A dozen is 12 and half of 12 is 6
7 – Lucky seven – Number 7 is considered lucky in many cultures all around the world.
8 – Garden gate – Not only does garden gate rhyme with 8, but some say that this was used as code for having a secret meeting or setting up a drop-off point.
9 – Doctor’s orders – Many people wonder about doctor’s orders number 9 meaning, so why is doctor’s orders number 9? Well, during World War 2, Number 9 was the name of a pill that army doctors gave soldiers. The pill was a powerful laxative which was meant to clean the system of all troubles.
10 – [Prime Minister’s name]’s den – this one is one of the funny rude bingo calls because it’s always up to date and the bingo players will insert the name of the current prime minister into the call. It’s also tied to 10 Downing Street, London, where the prime minister’s office is.
11 – Legs eleven – just as 2 looks like a duck, eleven looks like a pair of legs.
12 – One dozen – just as simple as 6 which is half a dozen, 12 is a full dozen.
13 – Unlucky for some – This is a pretty general superstition that 13 is an unlucky number, but if you’re getting it at bingo it might be lucky for you.
14 – Valentine’s Day – Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 14th of February.
15 – Young and keen – 15 rhymes with keen
16 – Sweet 16 and never been kissed – 16 is a special birthday in many countries because you’re not an adult, but not really a child anymore.
17 – Dancing queen – Based on ABBA’s 1976 single Dancing Queen which is about a girl that’s “only seventeen” and a dancing queen.
18 – Coming of age – at 18 in most countries you become an adult. This bingo call can also sometimes be replaced by people shouting that now you can vote.
19 – Goodbye teens – 19 can be considered to be the last teenage year
20 – Getting Plenty – The phrase is a naughty rhyme with the number.
21 – Royal salute – the royal/military salute involves firing 21 guns.
22 – Two little ducks – just as 2 looks like a little duck, 22 looks like two little ducks
23 – The Lord is my shepherd – surprisingly, this one is a biblical reference, because in Psalm 23 in the Old Testament this is the first line.
24 – Two dozen – if six is half a dozen and 12 is a dozen, then two dozen is 24.
25 – Duck and dive – not only does it rhyme, but you have the duck (2) and you should dive away because the 5 looks like a snake.
26 – Half a crown – In the UK in the old days two shillings and sixpence made up half a crown.
27 – Gateway to heaven – simple rhyme
28 – In a state – this is a rhyme using Cockney slang. A two and eight means that someone was in a poor state.
29 – Rise and shine – a joyful rhyme
30 – Dirty Gertie – Rhyming with 30, this phrase is also a nickname for the statue La Délivrance, a sculpture of a naked lady in North London.
31 – Get up and run – Rhyming call for 31.
32 – Buckle my shoe – The phrase rhymes with the numbers.
33 – All the threes – 33 represents all the 3s available in a 90 ball game.
34 – Ask for more – just great rhyme
35 – Jump and jive – same
36 – Three dozen – 12×3 = 36
37 – More than eleven – many numbers are higher than 11, but this one happens to rhyme
38 – Christmas cake – Another term from Cockney rhyming slang.
39 – 39 steps – this one is based on the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock movie with the same name
40 – Life begins – it’s a pretty popular saying that life begins at 40. We sure hope it’s true.
41 – Time for fun – now that you’re past 40 it’s time for fun
42 – Winnie the Pooh – Winnie the Pooh is a popular character but he may have been chosen here just for the rhyme
43 – Down on your knees – a phrase used by soldiers during the war.
44 – Droopy drawers – a reference to sagging trousers
45 – Halfway there – traditional British bingo games have 90 numbers so 45 is half of that
46 – Up to tricks – phrase rhymes with 46.
47 – Four and seven – here you get what you see
48 – Four dozen – 4×12 = 48
49 – PC – based on an old TV programme ‘The Adventures of P.C. 49,’
50 – Half a century – A century is 100 and 50 is half.
51 – Tweak of the thumb – another call that rhymes
52 – Danny La Rue – a rhyme that references the Irish cross-dressing singer
53 – Here comes Herbie – 53 is the number of the VW Beetle Herbie from the eponymous Walt Disney movies.
54 – Clean the floor – simple rhyme
55 – Snakes alive – if 5 looks like a snake, then here we have two snakes
56 – Shotts Bus / Was she worth it? – Shotts bus 56 is the original number of the bus route from Glasgow to Shotts, while the other saying refers to five shillings and sixpence which was how much a marriage licence used to cost.
57 – Heinz varieties – the number in the logo of Heinz.
58 – Make them wait – another rhyming call.
59 – Brighton Line – Some say this is the number of the train from Brighton to London, engine 59 , while others think it’s because the original telephone numbers in Brighton started with 59.
60 – Five dozen / Grandma’s getting frisky – You could either think of five dozens (5×12 = 60) or take it as rude bingo calls and say that grandma’s getting frisky, which refers to the age at which women can retire and get a pension.
61 – Baker’s bun – no baker’s dozen, just a rhyming bingo call
62 – Turn the screw – rhymes with the number.
63 – Tickle me – just a cheeky rhyme
64 – Red raw – maybe a half-rhyme
65 – Old age pension – the age at which men can retire in the UK.
66 – Clickety click – one of the best rhymes with some interesting sounds
67 – Stairway to heaven – we’ve had seven rhyming with heaven before but now the gateway is a stairway
68 – Pick a mate – bingo is better with friends, but here it’s just because it sounds right
69 – Any way up – the number 69 looks the same upside down as it does regularly
70 – Three score and ten – 3×2 = 60 add 10 and you get 70
71 – Bang on the drum – this one is a simple rhyme, but in the early 2000s, there was an attempt to change it to ‘J.Lo’s bum’.
72 – Six dozen – 6×12 = 70
73 – Queen bee – nothing to do with actual bees, just sounds nice
74 – Hit the floor – same
75 – Strive and strive – nothing new here
76 – Trombones – this is from a popular marching song called ‘76 Trombones’ from the musical, The Music Man.
77 – Sunset strip – based on a private investigator TV show called 77 Sunset Strip.
78 – 39 more steps – another reference to the 39 Steps film , but this time it’s 39 + 39 = 78
79 – One more time – unfortunately it has nothing to do with Britney Spears’ hit song, it just rhymes
80 – Gandhi’s breakfast – this is a smart and really funny bingo call because Ghandi was said to fast and eat nothing. So ate nothing sounds exactly like 8 nothing (0).
81 – Stop and run – it might not make much sense, but it does rhyme.
82 – Straight on through – same
83 – Time for tea – just keeping up with the rhymes
84 – Seven dozen – this one is the last dozen, 7×12 = 84.
85 – Staying alive – good luck not having the Bee Gees song stuck in your head
86 – Between the sticks – some say it’s about the position of goalkeepers, who spend the match ‘between the sticks’ aka the goalposts.
87 – Torquay in Devon – It rhymes!
88 – Two fat ladies – Think of the number 8 it kind of looks like a large lady, well 88 means there’s two of them.
89 – Nearly there – just a simple heads up that 89 is super close to 90, the last bingo number.
90 – Top of the shop – this one and several others that mean the same thing are used because 90 in bingo is the very last number.
New and Different Lingo for Online Bingo
The bingo calls we’ve just discussed are the old ones that have been around since the 50s but now that online bingo is becoming the most popular kind of bingo it’s time for some changes.
Because bingo it’s entertaining, we thought that you would be interested our online bingo sites that are so appreciated by players because they have excellent bingo chat rooms where players can talk amongst themselves and get to use the lingo. Just as it happens when you write in a hurry on social media and begin to use abbreviations, when playing online bingo players will often use abbreviations as well, which has brought us the new terms.
Apart from the classic BRB, BTW, LOL, GTG etc which we use in common “internet speech”, there are some that are specifically bingo related like 1TG, 2TG, WD, WTG or BLNT.
Their meaning is pretty simple and not as hard to guess as it was with the old bingo calls, these usually mean exactly what they stand for (1 to go, 2 to go, well done, way to go, better luck next time etc).
Do you know any other exciting bingo calls used online? We’re curious to see if things will evolve even further and if we’ll get similar lingo as to the one used in the past but up to date on pop culture. Until then you should brush off your bingo knowledge and skills, get some great bingo offers and have some (safe!) fun.