Bingo Slang History

Bingo slang history has its beginnings in the early UK bingo halls, where the bingo number callers started to have a bit of fun. Gradually, each of the bingo numbers acquired one or more special nicknames. A lot of the bingo nicknames come from Cockney rhyming slang. Others have historical references or describe the shapes of numbers, as in “one little crutch” for number 7.

Bingo slang such as “two fat ladies” for number 88 and “clickety click” for number 66 has made its way into popular culture. In the US, bingo slang is also used, but you probably won’t hear as many nicknames, or at least not as many that come from Cockney rhyming slang. Because 75-ball bingo – rather than the 90-ball version – is popular in the US, there are also simply fewer numbers for bingo callers to name.

Bingo Numbers Nicknames

There is not only a single nickname per bingo number. The nicknames depend on the location of the bingo game as much as on the caller. The most widely used and often most colorful of the bingo number nicknames are those for the single digits (numbers one through nine), the ‘twin’ or double numbers (such as 22, 33 and so on) and the multiples of ten. Here are some commonly used examples:

1. Kelly’s eye

7. David Beckham

10. Downing street

11. Legs eleven

13. Unlucky for some

21. If only I was…

22. Bishop Desmond

30. Dirty Gertie

51. I love my mum

66. All the sixes

70. Three score and ten

85. Staying alive

87. Fat lady with a crutch

88. Two fat ladies

90. Top of the shop

In many of the larger bingo halls, these bingo numbers nicknames are no longer used – so let’s hope that the nostalgia and fun associated with bingo slang isn’t lost. Still, in many betting halls around the world, callers and players alike know and use the traditional bingo nicknames.