The Origins of Some of the World’s Most Popular Bingo Calls


The Origins of Some of the World’s Most Popular Bingo Calls


A hand marks a bingo card with a green marker.

The Origins of Some of the World’s Most Popular Bingo Calls


A hand marks a bingo card with a green marker.

If you’re new to the game of bingo, you probably expected to sit down and listen to a string of bingo numbers being called out while players, with their daubers at the ready, listen intently. Luckily, traditional and online bingo both have a lot more personality than just that, which is why it draws in approximately 1.6 billion players each year. 

Over the years, various bingo calls and bingo sayings have emerged from bingo halls all over the world. Some were created as simple rhymes, others were influenced by the unique shape of a number and there are even those with a historical reference. No matter how they came to be, all of these traditional calls are known for adding some quirky fun to this popular pastime.

Regular bingo player? Even if you’ve got the traditional bingo terms down, it’s time to brush up on your knowledge. After all, with the convenience and accessibility of online bingo enticing players from many different ages and backgrounds to give the game a go, there are a few newer, more modern calls with which to familiarize yourself.

Now’s your chance to become a master of bingo lingo! Read on for our bingo calls list featuring some of the most popular sayings and a good mix of old and new.

Rhyming bingo calls

Three = Cup of Tea

A popular bingo beverage – and a cute little rhyme.

Six = Tom Mix

Tom Mix is a famous US Western film star who appeared in over 200 movies throughout his career.

10 = Sunak’s Den

The UK prime minister resides at Number 10 Downing Street. Note that this rhyme changes regularly based on the UK’s current prime minister.

17 = Dancing Queen

This popular rhyme pays homage to pop band Abba’s most iconic music hit.

28 = In a State

This rhymes, but it’s also Cockney slang, e.g. “He was in a right two and eight,” means “He was in a poor state!”

51 = I Love My Mum

We’re sure she’s pretty special! You might also hear “Tweak of the Thumb,” depending on where in the world you’re playing.

Bingo calls based on number shape

Bingo balls set against a white background.

Two = One Little Duck

This saying came about due to the shape of the number two, which looks just like a little duck. Unsurprisingly, 22 is known as “two little ducks” in bingo.

11 = Legs Eleven

The number 11 looks like two legs.

25 = Duck and Dive

This one sounds like a simple rhyme (which it is), but it’s also based on the shapes of the numbers. As mentioned, the number two looks like a duck, while the number five looks like a snake – an animal that most people would typically dive to get away from!

69 = Either Way Up

The number 69 reads the same whether you read it right-side-up or upside-down.

Bingo calls referencing history

One = Kelly’s Eye

References a (believed-to-be) one-eyed Australian outlaw called Ned Kelly.

21 = Royal Salute

References the 21-gun salute that takes place at royal ceremonies.

56 = Was She Worth It?

Back in the day, a marriage license cost five shillings and sixpence. In most bingo halls, the women respond with “Every penny!”

Milestone bingo calls

Seven = Lucky 7

Number seven has a reputation for being “lucky.” For example, there are seven days of the week and seven is believed to illustrate an idea of completeness throughout the Bible.

16 = Sweet Sixteen

Anyone celebrating their sixteenth birthday is said to be celebrating their “sweet sixteen.”

45 = Halfway There

There are 90 numbers in 90-ball bingo, so 45 is the halfway mark.

65 = Old Age Pension

In most countries around the globe, 65 is considered retirement age and is when most people qualify to receive a pension.

89 = Nearly There

Since 89 is just one number away from 90, it’s “nearly there.”

90 = As Far As We Go

It’s the highest number. Also often referred to as “Top of the Shop.”

Modern bingo calls

One = One Direction

In younger bingo circles, One Direction references the multi-award-winning British boy band.

Six = Little Mix

Little Mix is a popular British girl band and a modern-day rhyming bingo call in the UK.

Seven = David Beckham

Legendary footballer David Beckham famously wore the number seven on the field for most of his career.

Eight = Tinder Date

A clever rhyme referencing the well-known dating app, Tinder.

11 = Eyebrows on Fleek

Eyebrows are the facial feature of the moment in the makeup realm. They replace “Legs 11” when calling bingo number 11 for most younger players.

32 = Jimmy Choo

This simple rhyme references a sought-after, high-end shoe designer.

48 = Tag a Mate

Anyone with a social media profile will get it.

53 = Here Comes Herbie

Herbie is an iconic VW Beetle in the Disney franchise. He made his debut in 1968 and made a comeback in 2005. Famously, his racing number was 53. 

88 = Wills and Kate

A royal rhyme celebrating Prince William and Princess Kate.

Play bingo online with Borgata

Whether you prefer 75-ball bingo or you’re ready to put your knowledge of bingo terms to good use in 90-ball bingo, choose to play at Borgata Online! Along with classic online bingo games and online bingo slots, we also specialize in casino table games, online slots, arcade games, variety games and more.

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