Bingo Lingo: The History Behind the Calls

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Two fat ladies? Two little ducks? Four and seven? Clickety click? Even if you haven’t played bingo before, you’re bound to be familiar with the lingo. But where do some of the calls originate from? Well, some are historical references that probably seem slightly outdated in today’s era; while others are thought up simply on the shape of the number; but of course, the majority are based on rhymes. After learning the lingo, why not join the action online:

Numbers 1-10

Number Call Origin/meaning
1 Kelly’s Eye Still unknown – possibly military slang, or a reference to Australian folk singer, Ned Kelly. Neither have anything to do with one eye
2 One Little Duck Shape of the number; 2 resembles a duck
3 Cup of Tea Rhyming; the British love a cuppa
4 Knock at the Door Rhyming
5 Man Alive Rhyming
6 Tom Mix Rhyming, but named after the silent western film star
7 Lucky Seven Traditionally considered a lucky number
8 Garden Gate Rhyming
9 Doctor’s Orders Number 9 was a laxative pill given out by doctors in World War 2
10 -den A reference to whoever is at 10 Downing Street – so currently 10 is Theresa’s Den

Numbers 11-20

11 Legs Eleven Shape of the number; 11 resembles a pair of legs
12 One Dozen Traditionally, there are 12 units to a dozen
13 Unlucky for Some Traditionally considered an unlucky number
14 The Lawnmower The original and early lawnmowers had a 14-inch blade
15 Rugby Team Rhyming; there are 15 players in a rugby team
16 Sweet 16 More recently considered a significant birthday
17 Dancing Queen In reference to the lyrics of the ABBA Song
18 Coming of Age Traditionally considered the age of maturity
19 Goodbye Teen In reference to the final milestone, before entering your 20s
20 One Score Score is an old word for 20

Numbers 21-30

21 Key of the Door Traditionally the age of majority
22 Two Little Ducks See 2
23 The Lord is my Shepherd The first line of Psalm 23 in the Old Testament of the Bible
24 Two Dozen See 12
25 Duck & Dive Rhyming
26 Pick and Mix Rhyming; also known as ‘bed and breakfast’ due to the traditional cost of two shillings and sixpence
27 Duck & a Crutch Shape of the number; 2 resembles a duck and 7 resembles a crutch
28 In a State Rhyming
29 Rise and Shine Rhyming
30 Dirty Gertie Rhyming; Dirty Gertie from Bizerte was a popular song during World War 2

Numbers 31-40

31 Get Up & Run Rhyming
32 Buckle my Shoe Rhyming
33 All the threes Reference to the numbers; best called in an Irish accent
34 Ask for More Rhyming
35 Jump & Jive Rhyming; reference to a dance step
36 Three Dozen See 12
37 More than 11 Rhyming
38 Christmas Cake Rhyming
39 Steps Reference to the Alfred Hitchcock film
40 Life begins Reference to the common phrase ‘life begins at 40’

Numbers 41-50

41 Life’s begun & Time for Fun See 40
42 Street in Manhattan Reference to the film 42nd Street
43 Down on your Knees Rhyming
44 Droopy Drawers Rhyming
45 Halfway there Reference to being halfway to 90 (the highest number called)
46 Up to Tricks Rhyming
47 Four & Seven Reference to the numbers
48 Four Dozen See 12
49 Rise & Shine Rhyming
50 Bullseye Reference to the points scored in darts

Numbers 51-60

51 Tweak of the Thumb Rhyming
52 Deck of cards Reference to the number of cards in a full deck
53 Here comes Herbie In reference to number on the car in the film; players may respond “beep beep”
54 Man at the Door Rhyming
55 All the Fives Reference to the numbers
56 Shotts Bus Reference to the former bus that went from Glasgow to Shotts
57 Heinz Varieties Reference to the famous slogan of Heinz
58 Make them Wait Rhyming
59 Brighton Line Reference to The Importance of Being Earnest
60 Five Dozen See 12

Numbers 61-70

61 Baker’s bun Rhyming
62 Tickety-boo Rhyming
63 Tickle Me Rhyming
64 The Beatles Number Reference to The Beatle’s Song When I’m 64
65 Retirement Age Reference to the former mandatory age of retirement
66 Clickety Click Rhyming
67 Stairway to Heaven Rhyming
68 Pick a Mate Rhyming
69 Anyway Up Reference to the numbers
70 Three Score and 10 See 20

Numbers 71-80

71 Bang on the Drum Rhyming
72 Six Dozen See 12
73 Queen B Rhyming
74 Candy Store Rhyming
75 Strive & Strive Rhyming
76 Trombones Reference to the marching band song Seventy Six Trombones
77 Two Little Crutches Reference to the numbers
78 39 More Steps See 39
79 One More Time Rhyming
80 Eight & Blank Reference to the numbers

Numbers 81-90

81 Stop & Run Rhyming
82 Straight on Through Rhyming
83 Time for Tea Rhyming
84 Seven Dozen See 12
85 Staying Alive Rhyming; reference to the Bee Gees song
86 Between the Sticks Rhyming; reference to a goalkeeper in football
87 Torquay in Devon Rhyming
88 Two Fat Ladies Reference to the numbers
89 Nearly There Reference to being the penultimate number
90 Top of the Shop Reference to being the highest number possible
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Master reviewer of all types of products. Love XL Fountain Sodas!! Cheer Mom extraordinaire. Socialite to all things small town and founder of Come socialize and connect with me.


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