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Nicknames, numbers and beyond: your guide to Bingo calls

Bingo callers, and the infamous nicknames for numbers, are both parts of the entertainment factor of Bingo. Waiting for your number to be called in a funny, and sometimes cheeky way, is an added bonus amongst the thrill of marking off your numbers, and the chance to win some prizes.

Thanks to modern technology, you can also play a classic game on an online Bingo site, where the numbers are selected by a random number generator (RNG). But if you go to your local Bingo Hall, you’ll hear the catchy and witty Bingo phrases we all know and love.

If you organise a Bingo game amongst friends, then you could even make up your own nicknames for the numbers called, using some inside jokes. Or if you go to an extravagant themed Bingo event then you may just find the Bingo caller adjusts these phrases to suit the occasion.

But for now, let us run you through the top 10 most well-known classic British Bingo calls, and their weird and wonderful meanings.

Number 1 — Kelly’s eye

Although this appears at the beginning of our list, the meaning for the number one phrase is still ambiguous. Some say Kelly refers to the infamous outlaw Ned Kelly, who supposedly wore a metal helmet with a slot that resembled the number one.

Number 2 — One little duck

This one is pretty obvious, and perhaps one of the most memorable Bingo calls. All you need to do is look at the shape of the number two, which so happens to look like a little duck. Unsurprisingly, the number 22 is known as two little ducks.

Number 3 — Cup of tea

Now we enter into the rhyming slang world of Bingo. You’ll find that most Bingo calls use rhyme to help players to remember them easily. It’s no shock that the British call for number three refers to the nation’s most iconic hot beverage.

Number 4 — Knock at the door

Once again, we see rhyming slang at play here. But it could also refer to the classic ‘Knock Knock’ jokes that we all know. Bingo callers are sure to have some fun with this phrase.

Number 5 — Man alive

If you’ve got the hang of things now, you’ll notice this is another rhyming Bingo call. However, this one is quite unique, as the phrase is most commonly used in America. It soon influenced other countries, though, and can also be heard in UK Bingo Halls.

Number 6 — Half a dozen

Not much of an explanation needed here. In Britain, this is a common phrase to mean six of something. Of course, number 12 is to refer to as one dozen and number 24 as two dozen, and so on. But you may find this nickname varies in different countries.

Number 7 — Lucky seven

The number seven is considered lucky by many cultures around the world, and is also named as such when it appears in slot games. So, it’s no surprise that this is also the phrase used to describe the number in a game of Bingo.

Number 8 — Garden gate

Another classic example of rhyming used in Bingo, the number eight is commonly referred to as the garden gate, in the UK. In other countries, you may hear famous locations used instead, such as Golden Gate in America.

Number 9 — Doctor’s orders

This Bingo call is perhaps one of the most unusual ones on our list. The nickname derives from the military, and especially World War II. At the time, soldiers were given a pill by the army doctor, which was called Number 9. It was in fact a strong laxative and was given for a variety of reasons.

Number 10 — Boris Johnson’s den

At the time of writing, the number 10 is referred to as Boris Johnson’s den, as of course, the prime minister lives at number 10, Downing Street in London. As you can imagine, this will change whenever someone new comes in to power, and the Bingo caller will simply insert the relevant name.

Other memorable and quirky Bingo calls include:

  • Number 11 — Legs eleven
  • Number 13 — Unlucky for some
  • Number 17 — Dancing queen
  • Number 28 — In a state
  • Number 32 — Buckle my shoe
  • Number 42 — Winnie the Pooh
  • Number 88 — Two fat ladies
  • Number 90 — Top of the shop

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