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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]

NumberNicknameExplanation
1Kelly’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. Also after the Valiant comic strip 'Kelly's Eye' where the eponymous Kelly possessed a magic amulet.
2One little duck.From the resemblance of the number 2 to a duck; see also '22'. Response is a single 'quack.'
3Cup of teaRhymes with 'three'.
4Knock at the doorRhymes with 'four'.
5Man alive[3]Rhymes with 'five'.
6Half a dozen[5]A common phrase meaning six units (see '12' below).
Tom MixCockney rhyming slang for number 6[6]
7Lucky [3]7 is considered a lucky number in some cultures.
8Garden gate[5]Rhymes with 'eight'.
9Brighton line[5][7]A reference to the British railway line running from London Victoria and London Bridge to Brighton.
Doctor's ordersNumber 9 was a laxative pill given out by army doctors in WWII.
10(Current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) Boris’s den.The name refers to 10 Downing Street the home of the UK Prime Minister.
11Legs elevenA reference to the shape of the number resembling a pair of legs, often chicken legs specifically.[8] The players often wolf whistle in response.
12One dozenA reference to there being 12 units in one dozen.
13Unlucky for someA reference to 13 being an unlucky number.
14Valentine's DayA reference to 14 February being St. Valentine's Day.
15Young and keenRhymes with 'fifteen'.
16Never been kissed[2]After the song Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed
Sweet 16Refers to the US and Canadian celebrations of a Sweet sixteen birthday.
17Dancing QueenABBA's song Dancing Queen has the number mentioned in the lyrics.
18Coming of ageEighteen is the age of majority in the UK.
19Goodbye teensNineteen is the age after which people stop being teenagers.
20One scoreA reference to there being 20 units in one score.
21Key of the doorThe traditional age of majority.
Royal saluteNamed after the traditional 21-gun salute.
22Two little ducksThe numeral 22 resembles the profile of two ducks.[8] Response is often 'quack, quack, quack'.
23The Lord is My ShepherdThe first words of Psalm 23 of the Old Testament.
Thee and me[3]Rhymes with '(twenty) three'.
24Two dozen12 × 2 = 24. Refer to 12 above.
25Duck and diveRhymes with '(twenty) five', and is made up of a '2' – resembles a duck, and a '5' – resembles an upside-down '2'.
26Half a crownPre-decimalised currency in the UK. (See half crown). A half crown is equivalent to 2 shillings sixpence, written 2/6.
Pick and mixRhymes with '(twenty) six'
27Duck and a crutch.The number 2 looks like a duck (see '2') and the number 7 looks like a crutch.
Gateway to HeavenRhymes with '(twenty) seven'
28In a state.'Two and eight' is rhyming slang for 'state'.
OverweightRhymes with '(twenty) eight'.
29Rise and shineRhymes with '(twenty) nine'.
30Dirty 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]
31Get up and run[1]Rhymes with '(thirty) one'.
32Buckle my shoeRhymes with '(thirty) two'.
33Dirty kneeRhymes with '(thirty) three'.
34Ask for moreRhymes with '(thirty) four'.
35Jump and jive[2]A dance step.
36Three dozen3 × 12 = 36. Refer to 12 above
37More than 11Rhymes with '(thirty) seven'.
38Christmas cakeCockney rhyming slang.
39StepsFrom the 39 Steps
40Life beginsRefers to the proverb 'life begins at forty'.
Naughty 40Possibly in reference to the Naughty Forty.
41Time for funRhymes
42Winnie the PoohRhymes with '(forty) two' and in reference to Winnie-the-Pooh, a beloved UK children's book character.
43Down on your kneesThis was a phrase that was made popular during wartime by soldiers.
44Droopy drawers[7]Rhyme that refers to sagging trousers.[citation needed]
45Halfway thereBeing halfway towards 90.
46Up to tricksRhymes with '(forty) six'.
47Four and sevenRefers to the two numbers that make up 47, that being 4 and 7.
48Four dozen4 × 12 = 48. Refer to 12 above.
49PCRefers to the BBC Radio series 'The Adventures of PC 49'. Usual response is 'Evening all'.
50It's a bullseye!Referring to the darts score.
5 – 0, 5 – 0, it's off to work we goReferring to Snow White.
Half a centuryReferring to 50 being half of 100.
51Tweak of the thumbRhymes with '(fifty) one'.
52Danny La Rue[10]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 cardsNumber of cards in a deck.
53Here comes Herbie!53 is the racing number of Herbie the VW Beetle. Players may reply 'beep beep!'
Stuck in the treeRhymes with '(fifty) three'.
54Man at the doorRhymes with '(fifty) four'.
Clean the floorRhymes with '(fifty) four'.
55All the fives[5]Rhymes with '(fifty) five'.
Snakes aliveRhymes with '(fifty) five'.
56Shotts 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!'
57Heinz varieties[5]Refers to 'Heinz 57', the '57 Varieties' slogan of the H. J. Heinz Company.
58Make them waitRhymes with '(fifty) eight'. Here the announcer would pause, making the audience wait.
59Brighton lineQuote from The Importance of Being Earnest referencing trains 59 in turn references the number 59 bus running between Brighton and Shoreham-by-Sea.
60Grandma's getting friskyRhymes with 'sixty'.
Five dozen5 × 12 = 60. Refer to 12 above.
61Bakers bunRhymes with '(sixty) one'.
62Tickety-booRhymes with '(sixty) two'.
Turn the screw
63Tickle meRhymes with '(sixty) three'.
64Almost retiredA reference to the former British male age of mandatory retirement – specifically being one year away from it.
Red rawRhymes with '(sixty) four'.
65Retirement age, Stop work[2]A reference to the former male British age of mandatory retirement.
Old age pension
66Clickety click[7]Rhymes with '(sixty) six'.
67Stairway to HeavenCoined by Andrew 'CIP' Lavelle.
Made in Heaven[3]Rhymes with '(sixty) seven'.
68Pick a mateCoined by Edward James Mackey II.
Saving graceRhymes with '(sixty) eight'.
69Anyway upA reference to the 69 sex position.
Either way up
Meal for two
A favourite of mine[2]
70Three score and 10A score is a way of counting in 20s in which one score is 20.[11] 20 * 3 = 60 + 10 = 70. Three score and ten years is the span of life according to the Bible.[12]
71Bang on the drum[2]Rhymes with '(seventy) one'.
J.Lo's bum[2]
72Danny La Rue[2]Rhymes with '(seventy) two'
Six dozen6 × 12 = 72. Refer to 12 above.
73Queen beeRhymes with '(seventy) three'.
Under the tree.
Lucky 3[13]
74Hit the floorCoined by Ann Fitzsimons.
Candy storeRhymes with '(seventy) four'.
75Strive and strive[14]Rhymes with '(seventy) five'.
76Trombones[15]'Seventy-Six Trombones' is a popular marching song, from the musical The Music Man.
77Two little crutches[15]The number 77 resembles 2 little 'Crutches'.
Sunset StripFrom the 1960s television series '77 Sunset Strip'. Usually sung by the players.
7839 more steps39 + 39 = 78. Refer to 39 being '39 steps' above.
Heaven's gateRhymes with '(seventy) eight'.
79One more timeRhymes with '(seventy) nine'.
80Gandhi's breakfast'Ate nothing'.
Eight and blankRefers to 80 being made up of 8 and 0 (nothing).
81Fat lady with a walking stickThe 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 runRhymes with '(eighty) one'.
82Straight on throughRhymes with '(eighty) two'.
83Time for teaRhymes and scans[14]
84Give me moreRhymes and scans.
85Staying alive[16]Rhymes with '(eighty) five'.
86Between the sticksRhymes with '(eighty) six'. Refers to the position of goalkeeper in football.
87Torquay in DevonRhymes 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.
88Two fat ladies[17]The number 88 visually resembles a lady next to another lady. Refer to 81 above. Players can reply with 'wobble, wobble!'
89Nearly there89 is one away from 90 (the end of the bingo numbers).
Almost there
90Top 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. ^ abcde'J-Lo gets bingo call-up'. BBC News Online. 5 May 2003. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  2. ^ abcdefgh'R.I.P. 1950s Bingo Calls'. BBC News Online. 7 May 2003. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  3. ^ abcdeArielr (9 September 2020). 'Bingo Calls'. Wink Bingo. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  4. ^Partridge 2006, p. 1397.
  5. ^ abcdefgBingo – 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. ^ abcGreen 1987, p. 56.
  8. ^ abBingo Slang Terms, 11 October 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  9. ^Vosburgh 1994.
  10. ^Jackson 2007.
  11. ^'Why is the number 20 called a 'score'? - Quora'. www.quora.com. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  12. ^King James Bible. Psalm 90 verse 10.CS1 maint: location (link)
  13. ^'Bingo Calls a Complete Guide Infographic'.
  14. ^ ab'Bingo Calls'. Wink Bingo. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  15. ^ ab'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]

  • Green, Jonathon (1987). Dictionary of jargon. London: Routledge. ISBN0-7100-9919-3.
  • Jackson, Katie (18 August 2007). 'How we put the balls in bingo'. Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2 August 2009.
  • Lemanski, Dominik (20 April 2008). 'Amy's No, No, No to Kebab'. Daily Star. Retrieved 2 August 2009.
  • Partridge, Eric (2006). A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. Routledge. ISBN978-1-134-96365-2.
  • Vosburgh, Dick (8 March 1994). 'Obituary: Walter Kent'. The Independent. London. Retrieved 24 August 2009.

External links[edit]

Retrieved from 'https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_British_bingo_nicknames&oldid=1006614546'

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