Do You Know Your Bingo Lingo?

December 5, 2016

Through all the years of its existence, in bingo halls located throughout the country, this game has developed a unique lingo all of its own that was designed to keeping the play moving quickly and to ensure that all of the players could hear the numbers being called. However, the upshot of this is that people who are new to the game can often feel like they are listening to a foreign language, leaving them on the outside. For that reason, this article will break down some of the most oft-used pieces of bingo lingo, to help you when you next play.

bingo lingo

Number 1

The traditional bingo lingo for the number 1 is 'Kelly's eye', although you will also sometimes find Nelson's Column used for this number. There is some dispute as to where this fairly obscure piece of lingo comes from, with some believing it to be military-based, others thinking it is a reference to Ned Kelly and a third argument that comes from an old British comic strip of the same name.

Number 9

Bingo lingo for the number 9 is 'doctor's orders' and this dates back to the Second World War. During this time, doctors would treat patients suffering from constipation with a pill known as Number 9 – if it gets you a full house at bingo it might have the same effect!

Number 39

At first, the bingo lingo for this number – which is simply the word 'steps' – might seem completely baffling. However any fan of classic movies will cotton on to the fact that this is a reference to the Hitchcock classic The 39 Steps.

Number 57

This is another really oddball piece of bingo lingo, as the phrase for number 57 is 'Heinz Varieties'. It has its origins in a slogan that used to be used for advertising purposes by the Heinz Company, mainly because the owner of the company thought 57 was a lucky number.

Number 71

This number provides an example of how bingo lingo can sometimes be updated as time goes on. The traditional phrase for it is 'bang on the drum', which is a straightforward rhyme, but around a decade ago Butlins bingo abandoned this in favour of a more up to date rhyme – namely 'J-Lo's bum', in tribute to the most celebrated asset of pop singer Jennifer Lopez.

Number 65

The bingo phrase here is 'stop work', which is a reference to the good old days when people could look forward to retiring at that age – which is sure to make it completely incomprehensible to younger players in the future who will be looking forward to retiring when they are 90!

Number 15

Anyone who has is playing bingo as an escape from a bad tempered teenager will appreciate the bingo lingo for number 15 – namely 'stroppy teen'. It's not hard to figure out the explanation for it, but given that 15-year-olds are often particularly stroppy, it is a remarkably good fit.

Hopefully this guide has helped any amateur bingo players overcome their language barrier burdens before they hit the bingo hall again.

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