List of British bingo nicknames

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This is a list of British bingo nicknames. In the game of bingo in the United Kingdom, callers announcing the numbers have traditionally used some nicknames to refer to particular numbers if they are drawn. The nicknames are sometimes known by the rhyming phrase 'bingo lingo' and there are rhymes for each number from 1 to 90, some of which date back many decades. In some clubs, the 'bingo caller' will say the number, with the assembled players intoning the rhyme in a call and response manner, in others, the caller will say the rhyme and the players chant the number. In 2003, Butlins holiday camps introduced some more modern calls devised by a Professor of Popular Culture in an attempt to bring fresh interest to bingo.[1][2]

Number Nickname Explanation
1 Kelly's Eye Military slang;[3] possibly a reference to Ned Kelly
2 One little duck From the resemblance of the number 2 to a duck; see '22'
Me and you Romantic rhyme
3 Cup of tea
You and me Romantic rhyme
4 Knock at the door
5 Man alive
6 Tom Mix[2] After Tom Mix, a star of silent era Westerns
Half a dozen[4]
7 Lucky[4] 7 is considered a lucky number in some cultures
8 Garden gate[4]
9 Doctor's Orders[4][5] Number 9 was a laxative pill given out by army doctors in WWII.
10 (David's) Den The name refers to whoever currently resides at Number 10 Downing Street.
11 Legs[5] A reference to the shape of the number resembling a pair of legs, often chicken legs specifically.[6] The players often wolf whistle in response.
12 One dozen A reference to there being 12 units in one dozen.
13 Unlucky for some A reference to 13 being an unlucky number.
14 The Lawnmower The original lawnmower had a 14 inch blade.
16 Never been kissed[2]
19 Goodbye Teens Nineteen is the age at which people stop being teenagers.
21 Key of the Door The traditional age of majority.
22 Two little ducks The numeral 22 resembles the profile of two ducks.[6] Response is often, "quack, quack, quack".
23 The Lord is My Shepherd The first words of Psalm 23 of the Old Testament
24 Knock at the door
26 Two and six, half a crown. Pre-decimalised currency in the UK. (See half crown)
27 Duck and a crutch. The number 2 looks like a duck (see '2') and the number 7 looks like a crutch.
28 Two and eight, in a state. Rhyming slang for "state".
30 Burlington Bertie Reference to a music hall song of the same name composed in 1900, and a more famous parody (Burlington Bertie from Bow) written in 1915. Burlington Bertie is 100 to 30 on the race track
Dirty Gertie[1] Common rhyme derived from the given name Gertrude, used as a nickname for the statue La Delivrance installed in North London in 1927. The usage was reinforced by Dirty Gertie from Bizerte, a bawdy song sung by Allied soldiers in North Africa during the Second World War.[7]
32 Buckle My Shoe[1]
33 All the threes[4]
35 Jump and Jive[2] A dance step
36 Three dozen
44 Droopy drawers[5] Rhyme that refers to sagging trousers.[citation needed]
52 Danny La Rue[8] A reference to drag entertainer Danny La Rue. Also used for other numbers ending in '2' (see '72' below).
Chicken vindaloo[1] Introduced by Butlins in 2003.[1]
53 Here comes Herbie 53 is the racing number of Herbie the VW Beetle. Players may reply "beep beep"!
54 House with a bamboo door
55 All the fives[4]
56 Shotts Bus[4] Refers to the former number of the bus from Glasgow to Shotts.
57 Heinz Beanz[4] Refers to "Heinz 57", the "57 Varieties" slogan of the H. J. Heinz Company.
59 The Brighton Line Refers to the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway
62 Tickety-boo
65 Stop work[2] A reference to the British age of mandatory retirement.
66 Clickety click[5]
69 Anyway up. Meal for Two (saucy alternative).
71 Bang on the drum[2]
72 Danny La Rue[2]
76 Trombones[9] "Seventy-six Trombones" is a popular marching song, from the musical The Music Man.
Was she worth it? This refers to the pre-decimal price of a marriage licence in Britain, 7/6d. The players shout back "Every Penny"
77 Two little crutches[9]
80 Gandhi's Breakfast Imagine looking down from above on Gandhi sitting cross-legged in front of a plate or "ate nothing"
83 Stop Farting! The 8 is supposed to be the bottom and the 3 is the fart. Then when this is called, a player says "Who? Me?"
84 Seven dozen
85 Staying alive[10]
86 Between the sticks
87 Torquay in Devon
88 Two Fat Ladies[11]
89 Nearly there
Almost there
90 Top of the shop[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "J-Lo gets bingo call-up". BBC News Online. 5 May 2003. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "R.I.P. 1950s Bingo Calls". BBC News Online. 7 May 2003. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  3. ^ Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English".
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bingo - Trendier than Clubbing!, Inside Out (BBC), 23 September 2002. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d Green, Jonathon (1987). Dictionary of jargon. Routledge. p. 56. ISBN 0-7100-9919-3. 
  6. ^ a b Bingo Slang Terms, 11 October 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  7. ^ Vosburgh, Dick (1994-03-08). "Obituary: Walter Kent". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  8. ^ Jackson, Katie (2007-08-28). "How we put the balls in bingo". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  9. ^ a b How to stay young, even if you're clickety-click, BBC News Online, 11 July 2002. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  10. ^ http://bingosites.me.uk/all-things-bingo/ The history behind the game of Bingo
  11. ^ Lemanski, Dominik (2008-04-20). "Amy's No, No, No to Kebab". Daily Star. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 

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