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What’s The Deal With Bingo Slang?

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If you’ve ever seen or been to a classic bingo hall where the caller is shouting out rhyming slang each time a number comes up, you’ll know bingo can be quite theatrical. These calls are there to clarify which numbers are being drawn, but if you’re not familiar with them, they can also confuse you. 

The last thing you want to do when playing bingo is to ask the caller to repeat themselves while you frantically stare at your card, trying to find the ducks or ladies that were called out, only to be met with a grid of numbers. Online casino games are the most fun when things run smoothly, and that’s why we’re here to help you out.

Where did the bingo names and rhymes originate?

Before we get into the bingo calls themselves, it’s always a good idea to investigate where they originated. In this case, nearly all of the bingo calls for numbers are based on rhymes. In the mid-20th century in London, these rhymes were used to pass on secret or hidden messages on the streets. Bingo players quickly picked up these rhymes and started to use them to identify the 90 numbers. Keep in mind that bingo was played in huge halls, so numbers like 15 and 50 sounded incredibly similar. They adopted these rhymes and nicknames to make the numbers easier to tell apart. Of course, nothing stays the same, and as bingo and the nicknames spread, they were usually changed here and there, and new sayings were added.

Bingo numbers and their calls – all the way to 90

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To help prevent you from embarrassing yourself, or slowing the game down, let’s go over some classic bingo slang. Keep in mind that, depending on where you’re from or choose to play, these might not be the exact calls that your caller uses, but once you’ve got the classic ones down, figuring out the rest (and even making up your own) should be a breeze. 

Term Condition
1. Kelly’s Eye Named for the Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly, who some believed to have only one eye. In fact, Kelly had two eyes, but who’s counting?
2. One Little Duck This is the first of the visual clues that bingo calls use often. If you use your imagination, the number 2 looks like a little duck sitting in the water. 
3. Cup of Tea Since a lot of classic bingo rhyming slang is of British origin, it makes sense that the nation’s favorite drink should stand the test of time as one of the classic bingo rhymes.
4. Knock at the Door This is an example of some simple rhyming slang – door and four.
5. Man Alive Often used as an expression of disbelief, but also as a simple rhyme for the number 5. 
6. Tom Mix Tom Mix, which rhymes with six, was a silver screen star and daredevil whose 10-gallon hat and good looks made him famous.
7. Lucky Seven The number seven is thought to be a lucky number by most, hence the reason for this straightforward bingo call. 
8. Garden Gate Another bit of rhyming slang – gate and eight. 
9. Doctor’s Orders This bit of slang has a military background, in reference to 9 p.m. being when military medics would close up shop for the day. 
10. Blind 10 This is another visual reference, with the 0 looking like a single eye. Blind can also be prefixed to any other multiple of 10.
11. Legs 11 This one is a bit of a visual joke, with the number 11 looking like a pair of legs.
12. One Dozen The name says it all for this bit of slang. 
13. Unlucky for Some Thirteen is seen by most people as an unlucky number, with some hotels even skipping out the thirteenth floor due to this superstition.
14. Valentine’s Day This works as a friendly reminder that Valentine’s Day falls on February 14.
15. Young and Keen Another simple rhyme – keen and fifteen. 
16. Sweet 16 One of the oldest bingo calls around, and quite straightforward.
17. Old Ireland This bit of slang is a reference to St Patrick’s Day in Old Ireland, which falls on March 17.
18. Coming of Age Another simple age reference – the age at which teenagers become young adults. 
19. Goodbye Teens Hello roaring 20s, goodbye teens. 
20. Two Little Ducks One score is measured as 20 years.
21. Royal Salute The royal salute used to honor the Queen of England is also referred to as a 21-gun salute.
22. Two Little Ducks Two ducks, like the one we used earlier for the number 2, visually represents the number 22. 
23. Thee and Me Another simple bit of rhyming slang.
24. Two Dozen Multiples of 12 counted up in the dozens.
25. Duck and Dive This is a combination of rhyme and a visual pun, with the duck representing the two and dive rhyming with five, to spell out the number 25. 
26. Pick and Mix A simple rhyme – mix and six.
27. Gateway to Heaven A reference to the pearly gates, this is another simple bit of rhyming slang. 
28. Overweight The number 8 is often joked about as being fat, so this is a combination of a simple rhyme and a visual joke. 
29. Rise and Shine Another simple rhyme – shine and nine.
30. Dirty Gertie A simple rhyme made famous by a TV puppet show from the 60s called Basil Brush. 
31. Get Up and Run Another simple rhyme – run and one.
32. Buckle My Shoe A rhyme taken from a popular children’s song, One, two, buckle my shoe.
33. Dirty Knee A simple rhyme. 
34. Ask for More Another bit of rhyming slang – more and four.
35. Jump and Jive As well as being a simple rhyme, a jive (similar to the American jitterbug) became a popular dance in the 40s and 50s.
36. Three Dozen More multiples of 12.
37. More than 11 Besides being a painfully obvious statement, this is also a bit of rhyming slang.
38. Christmas Cake A tenuous rhyme, but rhyming slang nonetheless.
39. Steps Steps is a reference to the Alfred Hitchcock film, The Thirty-Nine Steps.
40. Naughty 40 A simple and self-explanatory rhyme.
41. Time for Fun A simple rhyme that is often extended with the phrase “life’s begun!”
42. Winnie the Pooh Everyone’s favorite honey-loving bear and a simple rhyme.
43. Down on Your Knee Some more simple rhyming slang.
44. Droopy Drawers A fun and silly little rhyme, also called out as “All the Fours.”
45. Halfway There Applies in a game of 90-ball bingo (45 is half of 90) but can also be called out as “Cowboy’s Friend,” in reference to a Colt 45 revolver.
46. Up to Tricks Rhyming slang using tricks to rhyme with six.
47. Four and Seven Not much explanation required here (we hope).
48. Four Dozen Some more math involving the multiples of 12 – four dozen is 48.
49. PC This one is a reference to a popular radio show from the 40s and 50s called PC 49. 
50. Half a Century Quite straightforward, half of a hundred.
51. Tweak of the Thumb Another simple and slightly tenuous rhyme.
52. Weeks of the Year This should be common knowledge, but there are 52 weeks in a year. 
53. Stuck in the Tree A simple rhyme, again using tree to rhyme with three.
54. Clean the Floor Another bit of rhyming slang.
55. Snakes Alive This one is a visual play on the number 5 looking like a snake, and a simple rhyme.
56. Was She Worth It? This bingo call is a reference to the price of a marriage license, which would have set you back five shillings and a sixpence in the 50s.
57. Heinz Varieties The number 57 appears on Heinz products as an indicator of the number of different products in the brand’s catalog. 
58. Make Them Wait A simple rhyme.
59. Brighton Line The train line that commuters took when traveling out of London to Brighton was called Route 59.
60. Five Dozen 5 x 12 = 60.
61. Baker’s Bun A fun and simple rhyme.
62. Turn of the Screw This bingo call is in reference to a book by Henry James about possessed children. It could be a bit dark for some. 
63. Tickle Me 63 This one is quite a simple rhyme that even uses the number.
64. Red Raw A simple rhyme, rhyming raw with four.
65. Old Age Pension This call is a reference to the days when one could easily retire at 65.
66. Clickety Click Though it rhymes slightly better as a plural, this is a simple bit of rhyming slang.
67. Made in Heaven An easy rhyme to remember – heaven and seven.
68. Pick a Mate Another simple bit of rhyming slang.
69. Either Way Up This one is a bawdy innuendo, referencing a sex position.
70. Three Score and 10 If you remembered that one score is measured as 20, then the math should be simple – 3 x 20 + 10 = 70.
71. Bang on the Drum Some simple rhyming slang.
72. Six Dozen More multiples of 12 – 6 x 12 = 72.
73. Queen Bee This bingo call is another bit of simple rhyming slang.
74. Candy Store Another simple rhyme – store and four.
75. Strive and Strive A nice and simple repetitive rhyme.
76. Trombones According to the 1950s Broadway musical, The Music Man, “Seventy-six trombones led the big parade.”
77. All the Sevens The name says it all for this online bingo call.
78. Heaven’s Gate Some more simple rhyming slang – gate and eight.
79. One More Time A simple rhyme and not a reference to Daft Punk at all.
80. Ate Nothing A cheeky visual reference to Gandhi’s Breakfast – the 8 represents Gandhi sitting in front of the 0, his plate, which is empty.
81. Stop and Run This bingo call implies the act of running from the police.
82. Straight on Through This call is just some simple rhyming slang but can also be seen as a continuation of the rhyme from the previous number.
83. Time for Tea Another simple rhyme involving a cup of tea.
84. Seven Dozen You guessed it, more dozens.
85. Staying Alive A simple rhyme that is bound to get the Bee Gees stuck in your head.
86. Between the Sticks This call is a rhyme that makes reference to the position of a goalkeeper in soccer, standing between the posts.
87. Torquay in Devon Another simple rhyme, where both words seem to (quite satisfyingly) rhyme perfectly.
88. Two Fat Ladies This call is a visual joke, with the 8s representing two overweight women. When this is called, players typically respond with “Wobble, wobble.”
89. Nearly There Only one more to go before 90.
90. Top of the Shop Also referred to as the end of the line, this is where the counting stops.

You got all of that, right?

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So, because we know that you’ve memorized all of these online bingo calls the first time around, you’re now ready to play bingo online or anywhere you go! Okay, we know there are a lot of calls to remember, and as we said, there might be some different ones depending on where you’re playing.

The key is to keep playing. Play online bingo to get excellent experience and broaden your online bingo vocabulary. Until then, refer back here if you ever get stuck – you can even have some fun with it and try to come up with some of your own bingo rhyming slang for your bingo games at home. Don’t forget that you can always play free bingo games to get used to online bingo cards and the pace of the game, before you play online bingo for real money.

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