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What are bingo calls and number names?

When you start playing online bingo games with tombola, you might think every other player knows a secret language. If so, you're not wrong! Bingo does have its own language, known as the bingo lingo.

A handful of phrases go hand-in-hand with playing the game and sometimes it can be confusing as a new player to understand what’s going on. We're here to help you learn the different bingo number names, the abbreviations used in our chat rooms, and some bingo general knowledge too. 

What are the different bingo calls in tombola?

Ready to get started? The phrases you'll hear during bingo games might refer to the game itself or the prizes you could win during the game. We've highlighted a few of the most useful bingo calls and sayings below:

Bingo saying

Why do we need names for bingo numbers?

Bingo number names originally used in bingo halls were devised to help players distinguish between different numbers when called out. For example, numbers like 15 and 50 might sound similar to those sitting far away from the caller. By adding a bingo number name, players find it easier to identify and mark off the correct number.

Some bingo calls change with the times, including Number 10, which always uses the name of the current Prime Minister!

The history of bingo number names

Traditionally, all bingo numbers from 1 to 90 have a distinct phrase associated with them. Some are simply funny rhymes, while others have ties to certain eras. No matter which of our bingo games you choose to play, you'll still hear the same names.

Most bingo number names are simple rhymes. It's believed that these names originated in London in the mid-20th century, where they were initially used to pass on hidden messages. Rumour has it that bingo number names were also introduced as a sort of secret language, used to give certain players a winning advantage.

After they first appeared in private games, bingo calls were quickly adopted in public settings because, as explained above, they made similar-sounding numbers easier to tell apart.

What's the difference between bingo calls online and in person?

If you've only ever played bingo in a hall but you'd like to learn how to play online bingo, you might also wonder if there are any differences between the calls.

Although bingo number names have changed and evolved over the years, particularly since the rise of online bingo, many traditional bingo calls have remained relatively consistent since they were formed back in the 1950s and 1960s. However, players in our Chat Rooms often invent their own bingo number names for our callers in each game, and you'll find a wild and wonderful variety of terms used.

What are the different types of bingo number names?

Bingo sayings in tombola Chat Rooms

When you join tombola, you become part of our bingo community.

We're a friendly bunch, so you can always come and join the conversation in our Chat Rooms. There, you can get to know the other players and learn some of our own bingo lingo. Don't worry, there's always a Chat Host on hand to answer any questions you might have.

A few of the phrases you might see in our Chat Rooms include:

WDW: Well done, winners! You’ll see this a lot, as our players like to congratulate each other.

GL: Good Luck. Players will send each other luck just before a game starts.

GLE/GLA: Good Luck Everyone/All.

3tg: Three to go. This means a player only needs to mark off three more numbers to reach the next prize.

CH: Chat Host

WB: Welcome Back

TYSM / TYVM: Thank you so / very much.... Our Chat Hosts are always happy to see you!

Get to know your bingo numbers with tombola

At tombola, we're proud to offer an incredible selection of exclusive bingo games, all created in-house. We're proud to be Britain's biggest bingo site, home to the best interactive bingo and a lovely community of players to boot.

We're always thinking of ways to keep our players safe. That's why we've added a range of safeplay tools to make sure that dabbing your bingo numbers is always what it's meant to be: just good fun.

From your Dancing Queen at 17 to the 57 Heinz Varieties, we're here to guide you through the thrills of playing online. Join tombola today to discover the fun behind the bingo numbers for yourself!

See all the bingo number names: 90-ball bingo lingo


1 Kelly's eye
2 One little duck
3 Cup of tea
4 Knock at the door
5 Man alive
6 Half a dozen
7 Lucky seven
8 Garden gate
9 Doctor's order
10 (Prime Minister)'s Den
11 Legs eleven
12 one dozen
13 Unlucky for some 
14 Valentine's Day
15 Young and keen
16 Sweet sixteen
17 Dancing queen
18 Coming of age
19 Goodbye teens
20 One score
21 Key to the door
22 Two little ducks
23 Thee and me 
24 Two dozen
25 Duck and dive
26 Pick and mix
27 Gateway to heaven
28 In a state
29 Rise and shine
30 Dirty gertie
31 Get up and run
32 Buckle my shoe
33 Dirty knee
34 Ask for more
35 Jump and jive
36 Three dozen
37 More than eleven
38 Christmas cake
39 39 steps
40 Life begins
41 Time for fun
42 Winnie the pooh
43 Down on your knees
44 Droopy drawers
45 Halfway there
46 Up to tricks
47 Four and seven
48 Four dozen
49 PC
50 Half a century
51 Tweak of the thumb
52 Danny La Rue
53 Stuck in the tree
54 Clean the floor
55 Snakes alive
56 Shotts bus
57 Heinz varieties
58 Make them wait
59 Brighton Line
60 Five dozen
61 Baker's bun
62 Turn the screw
63 Tickle me 
64 Red raw
65 Old age pension
66 Clickety click
67 Stairway to heaven
68 Saving grace
69 Favourite of mine
70 Three score and ten
71 Bang on the drum
72 Six dozen
73 Queen bee
74 Hit the floor
75 Strive and strive
76 Trombones
77 Sunset strip
78 39 more steps
79 One more time
80 Eight and blank
81 Stop and run
82 Straight on through
83 Time for tea
84 Seven dozen
85 Staying alive
86 Between the sticks
87 Torquay in Devon
88 Two fat ladies
89 Nearly there
90 Top of the shop

Start playing bingo online with tombola

Ready to get started? Now you're familiar with the most weird and wonderful names for bingo numbers, we don't blame you! You can set up your tombola account online by following a few simple steps:

1. Click 'Join now'

2. Follow the on-screen instructions and add your personal details, including any required documentation to prove you're eligible to gamble legally.

3. Wait for us to check and approve your application. We aim to get back to you within 24 hours.

4. Once you're approved, you can get to know our tombola community! (Don't forget about your welcome bonus!)

So, get going right now and start learning more bingo numbers on our unique online games!