The ultimate list of bingo calls: Fun, traditional & unusual

Unearth the amusing world of bingo calls with our ultimate guide! Discover traditional, modern, and unusual calls, and learn to create your own for a personalized, fun-filled bingo experience.

  • June 23, 2023
  • 9 minutes
  • Guides

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Bingo: a game that transcends mere numbers and taps into a rich tapestry of culture, humor, and tradition. At the heart of this beloved pastime are the bingo calls - a symphony of quirky, clever phrases that transform a simple draw into an animated narrative. These calls are not just a method of announcing numbers; they're a language that encapsulates history, regional flavors, and communal spirit.

In this article, we'll delve into the fascinating universe of bingo calls. From the traditional to the modern, the comical to the rhyming, we'll explore the colorful lexicon that makes bingo much more than a game – it's a vibrant, communal event. Whether you're a seasoned player or a curious newcomer, prepare to be enchanted by the whimsical world of bingo calls.

So, grab your dabber, and let's embark on this playful journey through the numbers!

What are bingo calls?

The ultimate list of bingo calls: Fun, traditional & unusual 1

Bingo calls serve the entertaining purpose of jazzing up the game and ensuring every number drawn brings a smile, a chuckle, or a puzzled expression. They transform a potentially monotonous series of numbers into a lively, interactive event. And in the process, they've become a beloved aspect of bingo culture.

Funny bingo calls

The ultimate list of bingo calls: Fun, traditional & unusual 3

Some bingo calls are just downright bizarre, making them all the more fun. Here are a few:

  1. Was She Worth It? (76): This dates back to the mid-20th century when the marriage license in the UK cost 7/6 (seven shillings and sixpence).
  2. Two Little Fleas (33): A humorous twist to "two little ducks" for 22, with no real rationale — just good fun!
  3. Dancing Queen (17): For ABBA fans, this number 17 call refers to their popular song "Dancing Queen."
  4. Garden Gate (8): A playful call, as it rhymes with the number.
  5. Doctor's Orders (9): Originated from a pill given by doctors during WWII, commonly known as "Number 9."
  6. Clean the Floor (54): A fun rhyme, adding a household chore to the mix.
  7. PC (49): Refers to the British term 'Police Constable' and the 1949 establishment of the modern police force.
  8. Halfway There (45): Often used because 45 is halfway to 90, the highest number in bingo.
  9. Tickle Me (63): Simply because it rhymes and adds a bit of humor.
  10. Lucky Sevens (77): Playing on the common belief that 7 is a lucky number.
  11. Heaven's Gate (78): A rhyming call that evokes a bit of whimsy.
  12. Time for Tea (83): A nod to the British love of tea time.
  13. Nearly There (89): Reflecting the anticipation of reaching the final number, 90.

Traditional bingo calls

The ultimate list of bingo calls: Fun, traditional & unusual 5

Bingo calls often derive from rhymes, historical events, or visual resemblances. Let's explore some of the traditional calls:

  1. Two Fat Ladies (88): This is perhaps one of the most famous bingo calls. It humorously refers to the shape of the number 88, which resembles two ladies standing side by side.
  2. Legs Eleven (11): This one draws from the resemblance between the number 11 and a pair of slender legs.
  3. Clickety-Click (66): A pure rhyme, no hidden meanings here!

Popular rhyming bingo calls

A touch of rhyme brings an extra dash of fun to bingo calls. Some crowd favorites include:

  1. Cup of Tea (3): A quintessential British refreshment for the number three.
  2. Knock at the Door (4): A simple rhyme to remember the number four.
  3. Man Alive (5): Number five gets a lively call-out with this rhyming phrase.

Modern bingo calls

The ultimate list of bingo calls: Fun, traditional & unusual 7

The language of bingo calls is always evolving. Modern life has introduced new phrases, like:

  1. Tinder Date (8): An example of how digital culture can influence bingo calls!
  2. Selfie Queen (17): A nod to our love of selfies in today's social media era.
  3. Netflix and Chill (69): A playful call for the digital streaming age.

1 - 90, a complete bingo call list

Dive into the delightful world of bingo lingo with our comprehensive list of calls for numbers 1-90. From the classic to the quirky, every number has its unique call-out:

(Note: The following calls are examples and may vary depending on cultural and regional differences)

  1. Kelly's Eye (1) - This likely comes from the military term "Kelly", meaning "potato", making it "small and round" like a one.
  2. One Little Duck (2) - The shape of the number two looks like a duck.
  3. Cup of Tea (3) - A simple rhyme.
  4. Knock at the Door (4) - Rhymes with four.
  5. Man Alive (5) - A rhyming phrase for five.
  6. Half a Dozen (6) - Six is half of twelve (a dozen).
  7. Lucky Seven (7) - Seven is often considered a lucky number.
  8. Garden Gate (8) - Rhymes with eight.
  9. Doctor's Orders (9) - Refers to a laxative pill given out by army doctors in WWII.
  10. Downing Street (10) - The British Prime Minister's residence is at Number 10 Downing Street.
  11. Legs Eleven (11) - The number 11 looks like a pair of legs.
  12. One Dozen (12) - Twelve items make up a dozen.
  13. Unlucky for Some (13) - Some people consider 13 to be an unlucky number.
  14. Valentine's Day (14) - Valentine's Day falls on February 14.
  15. Young and Keen (15) - Rhymes with fifteen.
  16. Sweet Sixteen (16) - Common term used to describe the coming of age for teenagers.
  17. Dancing Queen (17) - Refers to ABBA's hit song "Dancing Queen", which includes the lyric "You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen."
  18. Coming of Age (18) - In many cultures, 18 is the age of adulthood.
  19. Goodbye Teens (19) - Nineteen is the last of the teenage years.
  20. One Score (20) - A score is an old term meaning twenty.
  21. Key of the Door (21) - Traditionally, 21 was the age of majority—the age when a person was able to legally open their own home's door.
  22. Two Little Ducks (22) - The number 22 looks like two ducks side by side.
  23. Thee and Me (23) - A simple rhyme.
  24. Two Dozen (24) - Two dozens make up 24.
  25. Duck and Dive (25) - A rhyme based on the old song "duck and dive", with '2' for 'duck' and '5' which rhymes with 'dive'.
  26. Pick and Mix (26) - Rhymes with twenty-six.
  27. Gateway to Heaven (27) - A rhyming phrase.
  28. Overweight (28) - A cheeky rhyme.
  29. Rise and Shine (29) - A rhyming phrase.
  30. Dirty Gertie (30) - Rhymes with thirty.
  31. Get Up and Run (31) - Rhymes with thirty-one.
  32. Buckle My Shoe (32) - Taken from the nursery rhyme "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe".
  33. Dirty Knee (33) - Rhymes with thirty-three.
  34. Ask for More (34) - Rhymes with thirty-four.
  35. Jump and Jive (35) - Refers to a dance step in the jive, and rhymes with thirty-five.
  36. Three Dozen (36) - Three dozens make up 36.
  37. More than Eleven (37) - A rhyming phrase.
  38. Christmas Cake (38) - Cockney rhyming slang for "fat" as in 'overweight'.
  39. Steps (39) - Refers to "The 39 Steps", a novel by John Buchan.
  40. Naughty Forty (40) - Rhymes with forty.
  41. Time for Fun (41) - Rhymes with forty-one.
  42. Winnie the Pooh (42) - Rhymes with forty-two.
  43. Down on Your Knees (43) - This was a command used by officers in the military during drills.
  44. All the Fours (44) - Both digits are four.
  45. Halfway There (45) - 45 is halfway to 90, the end of the bingo numbers.
  46. Up to Tricks (46) - Rhymes with forty-six.
  47. Four and Seven (47) - Plainly calling out the numbers.
  48. Four Dozen (48) - Four dozens make up 48.
  49. PC (49) - Refers to the Police Constable in the "The Adventures of PC 49", a radio series about a friendly policeman.
  50. Half a Century (50) - Fifty years make up half a century.
  51. Tweak of the Thumb (51) - Rhymes with fifty-one.
  52. Danny La Rue (52) - Rhymes with fifty-two. Danny La Rue was a famous female impersonator.
  53. Stuck in the Tree (53) - Rhymes with fifty-three.
  54. Clean the Floor (54) - Rhymes with fifty-four.
  55. All the Fives (55) - Both digits are five.
  56. Was She Worth It? (56) - Refers to the price of a marriage license in old currency (5 shillings and 6 pence).
  57. Heinz Varieties (57) - Refers to "57 Varieties", the slogan of the H.J. Heinz Company.
  58. Make Them Wait (58) - Rhymes with fifty-eight.
  59. Brighton Line (59) - Refers to the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway's train service.
  60. Five Dozen (60) - Five dozens make up 60.
  61. Baker's Bun (61) - Rhymes with sixty-one.
  62. Turn on the Screw (62) - Rhymes with sixty-two.
  63. Tickle Me (63) - Rhymes with sixty-three.
  64. Red Raw (64) - Rhymes with sixty-four.
  65. Old Age Pension (65) - The age at which people receive their pension.
  66. Clickety Click (66) - Rhymes with sixty-six.
  67. Made in Heaven (67) - Rhymes with sixty-seven.
  68. Saving Grace (68) - Rhymes with sixty-eight.
  69. Either Way Up (69) - The number 69 can be inverted and still remains the same.
  70. Three Score and Ten (70) - A "score" is twenty, so three score is sixty, plus ten equals seventy.
  71. Bang on the Drum (71) - Rhymes with seventy-one.
  72. Six Dozen (72) - Six dozens make up 72.
  73. Queen B (73) - Rhymes with seventy-three.
  74. Candy Store (74) - Rhymes with seventy-four.
  75. Strive and Strive (75) - Rhymes with seventy-five.
  76. Trombones (76) - Refers to the musical "The Music Man" which features the song "76 Trombones".
  77. All the Sevens (77) - Both digits are seven.
  78. Heaven's Gate (78) - Rhymes with seventy-eight.
  79. One More Time (79) - Rhymes with seventy-nine.
  80. Eight and Blank (80) - Just saying the numbers, with "blank" standing in for zero.
  81. Stop and Run (81) - Rhymes with eighty-one.
  82. Straight On Through (82) - Rhymes with eighty-two.
  83. Time for Tea (83) - Rhymes with eighty-three.
  84. Seven Dozen (84) - Seven dozens make up 84.
  85. Staying Alive (85) - Rhymes with eighty-five and refers to the Bee Gees' song "Staying Alive".
  86. Between the Sticks (86) - Rhymes with eighty-six.
  87. Fat Lady with a Crutch (87) - Visual joke based on the shape of the numbers.
  88. Two Fat Ladies (88) - Both digits resemble the shape of a "fat lady".
  89. Nearly There (89) - Nearly at the end of the bingo numbers.
  90. Top of the Shop (90) - The highest number in bingo.

How to create your own bingo calls

The ultimate list of bingo calls: Fun, traditional & unusual 9

Creating your own bingo calls is a wonderful way to add a personal touch to your game. It can also be a fun activity in and of itself, providing a unique spin to the traditional rules. Here are some tips on how to create your own memorable, entertaining, and easily understandable bingo calls:

1. Use rhymes

Rhyming words are easier to remember and add a playful touch to your calls. Think "Keys in the Door" for 24 or "Jive Hive" for 45. You'll find that creating these rhymes can be as much fun as the game itself.

2. Draw inspiration from pop culture

Movies, TV shows, songs, and celebrities can offer a wealth of inspiration. For instance, instead of "Two Little Ducks" for 22, you could use "Taylor Swift" (considering her lucky number and birth date is 22).

3. Reference local landmarks or inside jokes

If you're playing with a group of friends or people from the same area, using references that only you understand can add a fun, insider feel to your game. This could be a local landmark, a shared joke, or a common experience. For instance, if there's a popular local bakery, you could use "Bakery Gate" for number 8.

4. Use visual cues

Just as traditional bingo calls often refer to the visual appearance of numbers, you can use visual cues for your own calls. This could be anything that the number reminds you of. For example, "Snake's Path" for number 2, as it resembles the sinuous movement of a snake.

5. Tie it to a theme

If your bingo game is part of a themed event, like a birthday party or holiday gathering, make your calls match the theme. For a Christmas game, for instance, you could use "Santa's Sleigh" for number 8, or for a birthday party, "Birthday Cake" for number 8.

6. Make it funny

Humor is a big part of traditional bingo calls, and it's a great way to keep your game light-hearted and entertaining. Don't be afraid to be a little silly or cheeky with your calls. Remember, the aim is to entertain and have fun!

7. Keep it clear

While it's fun to be creative with your calls, make sure they're still clear and easy to understand. You want to ensure that all the players can easily match the call to the correct number.

Remember, the key to creating great bingo calls is to keep them engaging, memorable, and easy to understand. So get creative, have fun, and add your own spin to your next bingo game!

A short history of bingo calls

The ultimate list of bingo calls: Fun, traditional & unusual 11

The tradition of calls dates back to the history of bingo, when it was invented in 16th-century Italy as "Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia," a lottery-style game. As the game spread across Europe, it evolved in various ways. By the 18th century, when it reached the UK, it was ripe for adaptation.

In the UK, the game, known as "beano" before becoming "bingo," found a new life in the working-class communities, especially after the 1920s. Here, the tradition of using catchy phrases for numbers started to take shape. These were not just random phrases; they often had historical, cultural, or colloquial significance. For example, "Two Little Ducks (22)" referenced the shape of the number resembling ducks, while "Unlucky for Some (13)" played on the superstitious nature associated with the number 13.

Bingo callers injected a healthy dose of British humor and wit into these calls. This creativity was not just for entertainment; it served a practical purpose. In the loud, bustling bingo halls, colorful and unique phrases made the numbers easier to hear and distinguish. This tradition of lively and humorous calls became an integral part of the bingo culture, making it more than just a game – it became a social event.

Regional variations of bingo calls

As bingo travelled beyond the UK, different regions added their unique flavor to the calls, reflecting their culture, history, and language.

United States: American bingo calls often reflect aspects of American culture and history. For instance, "B-4" is humorously followed by "and after" in some American halls, playing on the pronunciation. Calls like "Route 66" and "Apollo 11" reference iconic American highways and space missions, respectively.

Australia: Australian bingo calls sometimes lean on rhyming slang and local references. For example, "Tom Mix" for number six, after the famous American cowboy film star, resonates with Australia's love for Western films.

Canada: Canadian bingo calls might blend British traditions with local cultural references. For instance, "Hockey Stick (7)" is a nod to Canada's love for ice hockey.

This regional variation in bingo calls not only adds a unique twist to the game but also showcases how a simple game like bingo can be a reflection of cultural diversity and historical influences. Each set of calls is like a mini-tapestry of the society it comes from, adding depth and character to the world of bingo.

Conclusion

Bingo calls testify to the game's enduring charm and ability to bring people together in laughter. So next time you sit down for a round of bingo, listen out for the calls. They're not just random phrases but a link to a centuries-old tradition, spiced up with a dash of modern humor.


The Bingo Card Creator Team
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The Bingo Card Creator Team

We're the Bingo Card Creator Team, bringing you diverse, engaging bingo card templates. Dedicated to quality and innovation, our designs are made for simplicity and fun. We value your feedback and are always ready to help. Enjoy memorable bingo experiences with our templates!

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