The main part of a bingo in the UK. is matching off the numbers. Cross off all of the numbers on your card and you will win a prize. That sounds a bit dry.

How do the callers ensure that the game of bingo remains the exciting game it is today? They use a certain lingo of course. These unique calls keep players on their toes and are a lot of fun. The UK is no exception to this and they have their own brand of bingo lingo.

Why is that?

Rhyming slang

A common method of speaking in London and its surrounds is cockney rhyming slang. This playful way off twisting dialogue replaces regular words with everyday objects that rhyme. For example, your phone is your bone and the stairs are the apple and pairs.

This tradition has carried on into modern day and was even adopted by bingo callers, only with their own slant. That is why most bingo lingo in the UK rhymes.

Common bingo calls in the UK

With this rhyming structure in mind, we can see what type of calls to expect.

Number 3 becomes cup of tea. 4 is knock a t the door and 5 is man alive. These stand as great way for bingo players to get involved and it adds extra clarification to what number has been called.

There are some bingo players out there that know what number has been called by the rhyming slang itself. Or, you can just try and work it out. It isn’t hard.

But what about the numbers where the lingo doesn’t rhyme?

Traditions in UK bingo

There are some numbers in UK bingo that choose not to have a rhyming counterpart. This is usually because they have another connotation in the UK that is easily recognisable.

For example, the legal age in the UK to start drinking, gambling and buy cigarettes is 18. Therefore, when this bingo number is called the caller will shout coming of age.

Another example that might sound strange is Heinz varieties. This is actually called for the number 57. Why? Heinz is a brand of baked beans in the UK and the adverts always stated that there were 57 varieties of their beans. If that is even possible. That is why 57 is Heinz variety.

As long as there is a strand of logic behind it, the UK bingo numbers will have a strange call attached to it. You just have to be in on the joke.


They may sound odd to people over seas but the UK bingo calls are certainly unique. Some may rhyme, some may have societal context and others are based off the loosest of connections. These are confusing to outsiders but to bingo players in the UK these are part of the game and what’s more, they love them.