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]

Calls[edit]

Number Nickname Explanation
1 Kelly's eye[3] The pun is military slang;[4] possibly a reference to Ned Kelly, from Ned Kelly's helmet, the eye slot resembling the number 1.
2 One little duck. From the resemblance of the number 2 to a duck; see also "22". Response is a single "quack."
3 Cup of tea Rhymes with "three".
4 Knock at the door From the Nursery rhyme One, Two, Buckle my shoe; Three, Four, Knock at the door.
5 Man alive[3] Rhymes with "five".
6 Half a dozen[5] A common phrase meaning six units (see "12" below).
Tom Mix Cockney rhyming slang for number 6[6]
7 Lucky [3] 7 is considered a lucky number in some cultures; see also "73".
8 Garden gate[5] Rhymes with "eight".
One Fat Lady From the resemblance of the number 8 to an overweight woman; see also "88".
9 Brighton line[5][7] A reference to the British railway line running from London Victoria and London Bridge to Brighton.
Doctor's orders Number 9 was a laxative pill given out by army doctors in WWII.
10 (Current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) Rishi's den. The name refers to 10 Downing Street the home of the UK Prime Minister.
11 Legs eleven A reference to the shape of the number resembling a pair of legs, often chicken legs specifically.[8] 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 Valentine's Day A reference to 14 February being St. Valentine's Day.
15 Young and keen Rhymes with "fifteen".
Groovy Scene Also rhymes with "fifteen"
16 Never been kissed[2] After the song Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed
Sweet 16 Refers to the US and Canadian celebrations of a Sweet sixteen birthday.
17 Dancing Queen ABBA's song Dancing Queen has the number mentioned in the lyrics.
18 Coming of age Eighteen is the age of majority in the UK.
The Vampire's Dream Almost rhymes with "eighteen".
19 Goodbye teens Nineteen is the age after which people stop being teenagers.
20 One score A reference to there being 20 units in one score.
21 Key of the door The traditional age of majority.
Royal salute Named after the traditional 21-gun salute.
22 Two little ducks The numeral 22 resembles the profile of two ducks.[8] Response is often "quack, quack, quack".
23 The Lord is My Shepherd The first words of Psalm 23 of the Old Testament.
Lisa Scott-Lee The chart position for her 2004 single Get It On, the subject of which has become an internet meme.
Thee and me[3] Rhymes with "(twenty) three".
24 Two dozen 12 × 2 = 24. Refer to 12 above.
25 Duck and dive Rhymes with "(twenty) five", and is made up of a "2" – resembles a duck, and a "5" – resembles an upside-down "2".
26 Half a crown Pre-decimalised currency in the UK. (See half crown). A half crown is equivalent to 2 shillings and sixpence, written 2/6 and pronounced "two and six".
Pick and mix Rhymes with "(twenty) six"
27 Duck and a crutch. The number 2 looks like a duck (see '2') and the number 7 looks like a crutch.
Gateway to Heaven Rhymes with "(twenty) seven"
28 In a state "Two and eight" is rhyming slang for "state".
Overweight Rhymes with "(twenty) eight".
29 Rise and shine Rhymes with "(twenty) nine".
30 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.[9]
31 Get up and run[1] Rhymes with "(thirty) one".
32 Buckle my shoe Rhymes with "(thirty) two".
33 Dirty knee Rhymes with "(thirty) three".
34 Ask for more Rhymes with "(thirty) four".
35 Jump and jive[2] A dance step.
36 Three dozen 3 × 12 = 36. Refer to 12 above
37 More than 11 Rhymes with "(thirty) seven".
38 Christmas cake Cockney rhyming slang.
39 Steps From the 39 Steps
40 Life begins Refers to the proverb 'life begins at forty'.
Naughty 40 Possibly in reference to the Naughty Forty.
41 Time for fun Rhymes with "(forty) one".
42 Winnie the Pooh Rhymes with "(forty) two" and in reference to Winnie-the-Pooh, a beloved UK children's book character.
43 Down on your knees This was a phrase that was made popular during wartime by soldiers.
44 Droopy drawers[7] Rhyme that refers to sagging underwear.[10]
45 Halfway there Being halfway towards 90.
46 Up to tricks Rhymes with "(forty) six".
47 Four and seven Refers to the two numbers that make up 47, that being 4 and 7.
48 Four dozen 4 × 12 = 48. Refer to 12 above.
49 PC Refers to the BBC Radio series "The Adventures of PC 49". Usual response is "Evening all".
50 It's a bullseye! Referring to the darts score.
5 – 0, 5 – 0, it's off to work we go Referring to Snow White.
Half a century Referring to 50 being half of 100.
51 Tweak of the thumb Rhymes with "(fifty) one".
52 Danny La Rue[11] 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]
Deck of cards Number of cards in a deck.
Weeks in a year Number of weeks in a Gregorian year.
53 Here comes Herbie! 53 is the racing number of Herbie the VW Beetle. Players may reply "beep beep!"
Stuck in the tree Rhymes with "(fifty) three".
54 Man at the door Rhymes with "(fifty) four".
Clean the floor Rhymes with "(fifty) four".
55 All the fives[5] 55 is two fives.
Snakes alive Rhymes with "(fifty) five".
56 Shotts bus[5] Refers to the former number of the bus from Glasgow to Shotts.
Was she worth it? This refers to the pre-decimal price of a marriage licence in Britain, 5/6d. The players shout back "Every Penny!"
57 Heinz varieties[5] Refers to "Heinz 57", the "57 Varieties" slogan of the H. J. Heinz Company.
58 Make them wait Rhymes with "(fifty) eight". Here the announcer would pause, making the audience wait.
59 Brighton line Quote from The Importance of Being Earnest referencing trains 59 in turn references the number 59 bus running between Brighton and Shoreham-by-Sea.
60 Grandma's getting frisky Rhymes with "sixty".
Five dozen 5 × 12 = 60. Refer to 12 above.
61 Bakers bun Rhymes with "(sixty) one".
62 Tickety-boo Rhymes with "(sixty) two".
Turn the screw
63 Tickle me Rhymes with "(sixty) three".
64 Almost retired A reference to the former British male age of mandatory retirement – specifically being one year away from it.
Red raw Rhymes with "(sixty) four".
65 Retirement age, Stop work[2] A reference to the former male British age of mandatory retirement.
Old age pension
66 Clickety click[7] Rhymes with "(sixty) six".
67 Stairway to Heaven Coined by Andrew "CIP" Lavelle.
Made in Heaven[3] Rhymes with "(sixty) seven".
68 Pick a mate Coined by Edward James Mackey II.
Saving grace Rhymes with "(sixty) eight".
69 Anyway up A reference to the number reading the same when viewed upside down.
Either way up
Meal for two A reference to the 69 sex position.
A favourite of mine[2]
70 Three score and 10 A score is a way of counting in 20s in which one score is 20. 20 * 3 = 60 + 10 = 70. Three score and ten years is the span of life according to the Bible.[12]
71 Bang on the drum[2] Rhymes with "(seventy) one".
J.Lo's bum[2]
72 Danny La Rue[2] Rhymes with "(seventy) two"
Six dozen 6 × 12 = 72. Refer to 12 above.
73 Queen bee Rhymes with "(seventy) three".
Under the tree.
Lucky 3[13] 7 is considered a lucky number in some cultures.
74 Hit the floor Coined by Ann Fitzsimons.
Candy store Rhymes with "(seventy) four".
75 Strive and strive[14] Rhymes with "(seventy) five".
76 Trombones[15] "Seventy-Six Trombones" is a popular marching song, from the musical The Music Man.
77 Two little crutches[15] The number 77 resembles 2 little "Crutches".
Sunset Strip From the 1960s television series "77 Sunset Strip". Usually sung by the players.
78 39 more steps 39 + 39 = 78. Refer to 39 being "39 steps" above.
Heaven's gate Rhymes with "(seventy) eight".
79 One more time Rhymes with "(seventy) nine".
80 Gandhi's breakfast "Ate nothing".
Eight and blank Refers to 80 being made up of 8 and 0 (nothing).
81 Fat lady with a walking stick The number 8 is supposed to visually resemble a lady with ample bosom and hips, while the number 1 is supposed to visually resemble a walking stick.
Stop and run Rhymes with "(eighty) one".
82 Straight on through Rhymes with "(eighty) two".
83 Time for tea Rhymes and scans[14]
84 Give me more Rhymes and scans.
85 Staying alive[16] Rhymes with "(eighty) five".
86 Between the sticks Rhymes with "(eighty) six". Refers to the position of goalkeeper in football.
87 Torquay in Devon Rhymes with "(Eighty) Seven". Torquay which is in the county of Devon, rather than one of several other Torquays which were elsewhere in the British Empire.
88 Two fat ladies[17] The number 88 visually resembles a lady next to another lady. Refer to 8 and 81 above. Players can reply with "wobble, wobble!"
89 Nearly there 89 is one away from 90 (the end of the bingo numbers).
Almost there
90 Top of the shop[5] 90 is the highest (top) number in bingo. Shop refers to the entire game of bingo (and also rhymes with "top").

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "J-Lo gets bingo call-up". BBC News Online. 5 May 2003. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "R.I.P. 1950s Bingo Calls". BBC News Online. 7 May 2003. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e Arielr (9 September 2020). "Bingo Calls". Wink Bingo. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  4. ^ Partridge 2006, p. 1397.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Bingo – Trendier than Clubbing!, Inside Out (BBC), 23 September 2002. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  6. ^ "Tom Mix is Cockney Rhyming Slang for 6!". www.cockneyrhymingslang.co.uk. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Green 1987, p. 56.
  8. ^ a b Bingo Slang Terms, 11 October 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  9. ^ Vosburgh 1994.
  10. ^ "drawers - Wiktionary". en.wiktionary.org. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  11. ^ Jackson 2007.
  12. ^ King James Bible. Psalm 90 verse 10.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  13. ^ "Bingo Calls a Complete Guide Infographic".
  14. ^ a b "Bingo Calls". Wink Bingo. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  15. ^ a b "How to stay young, even if you're clickety-click". BBC News Online. 11 July 2002. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  16. ^ "The history behind the game of Bingo".
  17. ^ Lemanski 2008.

Sources[edit]