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 The pun is military slang;[3] possibly a reference to Ned Kelly, from Ned Kelly's helmet, the eye slot resembling the number 1. Also after the Valiant comic strip "Kelly's Eye" where the eponymous Kelly possessed a magic amulet.
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 Rhymes with "Three"
You and me Romantic rhyme
4 Knock at the door Rhymes with "Four"
5 Man alive Rhymes with "Five"
6 Tom Mix[2] Rhymes with "Six". After Tom Mix, a star of silent-era Westerns
Half a dozen[4] A common phrase meaning six units (see "12" below)
7 Lucky[4] 7 is considered a lucky number in some cultures
8 Garden gate[4] Rhymes with "Eight"
9 Doctor's Orders[4][5] Number 9 was a laxative pill given out by army doctors in WWII.
10 (Boris's) Den The name refers to whoever currently resides at Number 10 Downing Street.
11 Legs eleven[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.
15 Young and Keen Fifteen rhymes with keen
16 Never been kissed[2] After the song Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed
17 Dancing Queen ABBA's song Dancing Queen has the number mentioned in the lyrics.
18 Coming of Age Eighteen is the age of maturity in the UK.
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.
Getting Plenty Rhymes with "Twenty"
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 Double 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 Two and six, half a crown Pre-decimalised currency in the UK. (See half crown)
A to Z A reference to the fact that there are twenty-six letters in the alphabet
27 Duck and a crutch. The number 2 looks like a duck (see '2') and the number 7 looks like a crutch.
28 In a state. "Two and eight" is rhyming slang for "state".
29 Rise and Shine Rhymes with "(Twenty) Nine"
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 specifically the line: "I'm Burlington Bertie I rise at ten-thirty".
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]
31 Get Up and Run[1] Rhymes with "(Thirty) One"
32 Buckle My Shoe Rhymes with "(Thirty) Two"
33 All the threes[4]
Fish, chips and peas
34 Ask for More Rhymes with "(Thirty) Four"
35 Jump and Jive[2] A dance step
36 Triple dozen 3 x 12 = 36. Refer to 12 above
38 Egg and Sausage
39 Steps From the 39 Steps
40 Life Begins refers to the proverb 'life begins at forty'
43 down on your knees This was a phrase that was made popular during wartime by soldiers.
44 Droopy drawers[5] Rhyme that refers to sagging trousers.[citation needed]
45 Halfway there Being halfway towards 90
46 up to tricks rhyming
48 Four Dozen 4 x 12 = 48. Refer to 12 above.
50 It's a bullseye! Referring to the darts score.
Snow White Referring to 5 – 0, it’s off to work we go
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]
Deck of Cards Number of cards in a deck
53 Here comes Herbie 53 is the racing number of Herbie the VW Beetle. Players may reply "beep beep"!
54 Man at the door Rhymes with "(Fifty) Four"
55 All the fives[4]
56 Shotts Bus[4] Refers to the former number of the bus from Glasgow to Shotts.
57 Heinz Varieties[4] Refers to "Heinz 57", the "57 Varieties" slogan of the H. J. Heinz Company.
59 The Brighton Line Quote from The Importance of Being Earnest.

Also, 59 was the starting 2 digits of all original Brighton telephone numbers[citation needed].

60 Grandma's getting frisky Pretty close to a rhyme with 'sixty'
62 Tickety-boo Rhymes with "(Sixty) Two"
64 Almost retired A reference to the former British male age of mandatory retirement - specifically being one year away from it.
65 Retirement age, Stop work[2] A reference to the former male British age of mandatory retirement.
66 Clickety click[5] Rhymes with "(Sixty) Six"
67 Stairway to Heaven Coined by Andrew "CIP" Lavelle
68 Pick a Mate Coined by Edward James Mackey II
69 Anyway up, Meal for Two, A Favourite of mine[2] A reference to the 69 sex position.
71 Bang on the Drum[2] Rhymes with "(Seventy) One"
72 Danny La Rue[2] Rhymes with "(Seventy) Two"
73 Queen Bee. Under The Tree. Lucky 3[9] Rhymes with "(Seventy) Three"
74 Hit the Floor Coined by Ann Fitzsimons
76 Trombones[10] "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[10]
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.
80 Gandhi's Breakfast "Ate nothing"
81 Fat Lady with a walking stick The number 8 is supposed to visually represent a lady with ample bosom and hips, while the number 1 is supposed to visually represent a walking stick
83 Time for Tea Rhymes and scans[11]
84 Seven dozen 7 x 12 = 84. Refer to 12 being "a dozen" above
85 Staying alive[12] 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[13] The number 88 visually represents a lady next to another lady. Refer to 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[4] 90 is the highest (top) number in bingo. Shop refers to the entire game of bingo (and also rhymes with "top").


  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 h "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. ^ Bingo Calls a Complete Guide Infographic
  10. ^ a b How to stay young, even if you're clickety-click, BBC News Online, 11 July 2002. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  11. ^
  12. ^ The history behind the game of Bingo
  13. ^ Lemanski, Dominik (2008-04-20). "Amy's No, No, No to Kebab". Daily Star. Retrieved 2009-08-02.

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