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A Guide to Bingo Terminology

New bingo players can easily get confused when they start visiting online bingo sites like, chat rooms or even land-based bingo events. No wonder! Although fun, bingo terminology can scare away even the toughest players.

The good news is that we have prepared a guide to bingo terminology. Read up if you want to learn all about the common bingo terms, historical references and even pop culture references.


If you’ve ever heard a bingo caller announce a number 25 and say “Duck and Dive”, don’t be confused – it’s just a rhyme. For example, number 3 can be “Cup of tea” as well as “You and me”; number 5 is “Man alive”, number 42 is “Winnie the Pooh”, 60 is “Grandma getting frisky”, and 74 is “Candy Store.” Although there can be different rhymes for UK bingo players and US bingo players, they work on the same principle.


Some bingo terms are based on the physical resemblances between the numbers and objects/living things. For instance, number 2 is called “One little duck’ because it resembles a little duck; for the same reason, number 7 is called “One little crutch”, while number 27 is called “Duck and a crutch”. There are other, less innocent terms, such as 88 “Two fat ladies”, or 81 “Fat lady with a walking stick”.

Pop Culture References

Many bingo terms are based on old pop culture references. That’s why the number 16 is called “Never been kissed” – a group Blue Mountaineers had a song called Sweet Sixteen And Never Been Kissed in 1932. Number 77, when not called “Two little crutches” is called “Sunset strip” because of an American TV series called 77 Sunset Strip (aired from 1958 to 1964). Number 17 is referred to as the “Dancing Queen” because ABBA’s song Dancing Queen has number 17 in the lyrics.

As for the more recent pop culture references, let’s just say that number 71 is now called “J-Lo’s bum”!

Historical References

These bingo terms are perhaps the most interesting ones, not only because they may actually teach us new things about our history but also because of their linguistic value. For instance, number 76 is called “Was she worth it?” because in the 1950s, if you wanted to get married, all you had to do is pay five shillings and a sixpence. Number 9 is called “Doctor’s orders” thanks to a laxative pill named Number 9 that was given to army doctors and soldiers during WWI. Then we have number 14 referred to as “ The Lawnmower” because the original lawnmower had a 14-inch blade.