It’s B4, Not Before. We Speak Bingo Here

First Things First – Why Is There Bingo Lingo at All?

Do you speak bingo? Have you ever wondered what acronyms like WTG mean or where bingo rhymes come from? Thanks heavens, Winkipedia has an article about everything, right?
We all know that bingo is more than just a game. People get in fights if some unsuspecting newcomer (Got forbid!) dares take their lucky seat in the local bingo hall. Your sweet old granny can turn from the caring angel who always has a new knit scarf for you to a fierce beast just because Margery had the cheek to interrupt the main bingo session with her stupid sneezing.

And if you think that this happens only in the land-based clubs, think twice. We’ve heard newbies report feeling like outcasts in the online chat rooms of the bingo sites and being treated as if they were intruders. Shame, indeed. We really think these are isolated cases of undeserved rudeness. Probably the reason this is happening is that some bingo fans believe they belong to a special group or ideology so firmly, that sometimes things get out of hand.

Most bingo operators do their best to promote communication and adopt various techniques of building a loyal community where comradeship and kindness are basic values. Organising competitions such as “Pet of the Month”, “CM of the Week”, “Roomie of the Week” and chat games that require following the conversation, are just two examples of the social features of the online games. Communication in the chat is further encouraged by Chat Masters who lead the discussions, remind the players to buy tickets and act as mediators. Those chat rooms have a typical “slanguage” that looks like a Morse code if you are not familiar with the acronyms. This is where we can help. Read our basic guide on the most popular UK bingo vocabulary and never feel like a noob.

Chat Slang – The 10 Most Common Abbreviations Decoded

The first time I entered an online bingo chat I felt like a fossil. It was like my teenage daughter was writing some gibberish texts on her iPhone. I almost decided to close the window and never give bingo game another try, when one of the roomies wrote “bingomama301 welcome!” (I know, my nickname is as corny as it can possibly be.) This greeting felt kind of obliging and heart-warming at the same time. I replied and then I googled “chat language”. No kidding. I was that pathetic. Lucky you, you’ve got all the information with one click, heh? Don’t be so smug, I know you don’t know half of them. But I won’t tell. Below you’ve got the top 10 abbreviations that will give you a head-start in any bingo chat and will make you look more knowledgeable, for wink bingo extended bingo lingo list click here>>

Did you know The first known use of OMG was in 1917 in a letter to Winston Churchill from a 75-year-old admiral
  • LOL – Laughing out loud
  • ROFL – Rolling on the floor laughing
  • B4 – Before
  • WD – Well done!
  • WTG – Way to go!
  • GLA – Good luck all!/GL2U – Good luck to you!
  • BLNT – Better luck next time
  • AFK – Away from the keyboard
  • AFAIK – As far as I know
  • 1TG/2TG/3TG – 1 (ball) to go/2 to go/3 to go – This means you are missing just 1,2 or 3 numbers to call bingo.

What’s With All Those Funny Rhymes?

Most of the online bingo rooms nowadays announce the numbers like this: “two and nine – twenty-nine” but you may have heard also: “twenty-nine – rise and shine”. The traditional British bingo calls are still a thing, even if they are used more rarely than before. Some of them have a very obvious origin. For example, the latter one simply rhymes with the number 29. Some numbers have as many as 8 or 9 different nicknames, but most of them have up to 4. If you wonder why, it’s probably because with the time going by the jokes, the references and the popular associations change. So in contrast to 29, there are other examples where the etymology of the call is not so obvious at first sight. Let’s explore together the different categories below. We are not going to include all the calls here because you can find a full list on many sites. What’s more interesting is the story behind the call. We present you the most peculiar ones.

  • Resemblance – It’s easy to guess why “One Little Duck” is 2 and “Two Little Ducks” stands for 22. And once you know that 7 is sometimes called “A Little Crutch”, “One Little Duck With One Little Crutch” is logically 27. Here are some more examples when you hear what you see.
    88 – “Two Fat Ladies”55 – “Snakes Alive”80 – “Gandhi’s Breakfast”*

    *The last one may need a bit more explaining, though. Picture Gandhi cross-legged and an empty plate in front of him. Now you get it, don’t you?

  • Rhymes – Some rhymes are just a random phrase that stuck to the number, whereas others have a hidden reference or association.
    4 – “Knock at the Door”5 – “Man Alive”23 – “Thee and Me”
    25 – “Duck and Dive”26 – “Pick and Mix”28 – “Over Weight”
    32 – “Buckle My Shoe”34 – “Ask for More”35 – “Jump and Jive”
    42 – “Winnie the Pooh”52 – “Danny La Rue”58 – “Make Them Wait”
    59 – “Brighton Line”66 – “Clickety Click”67 – “Made in Heaven”
  • Historical Reference/Pop Culture – This is the most interesting category because most of the references here a long forgotten. Take for example 9 – “Doctor’s Orders”. Number 9 was a laxative pill given to soldiers who faked ill health during the WWII. Another favourite of mine is number 10 “David’s Den” and it is named after the famous 10 Downing Street – the address of the prime minister of Great Britain. This one changes every five years to the name of the current head of the government. 77 “Sunset Strip” – does anyone remember the private detective TV series from the 1960′s, I guess very few of you. Religion has also found its well-deserved place in the bingo call tradition, 23 “Lord Is My Shepherd” is a reference to the beginning of the 23 Psalm of the Old Testimony.
  • Music/Dance -The first thing that pops in my mind is, of course, 17 – “Dancing Queen” – the evergreen hit from the unforgettable ABBA. 25/35 rhyme perfectly with the dance step “Jump and Jive. 76 “Trombones” comes from a song in the musical the Music Man. 30 “Dirty Gertie” has a less noble origin. This was a bawdy song sung by the soldiers in North Africa during the WWII. And finally, my personal favourite in this category 64 “The Beatles Number” from the lyrics of their song “Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m 64?”
  • Ambiguous – These have a hidden meaning that may be a bit outdated in most cases. For example 16 goes by the name “Never Been Kissed”. Well, maybe…long…long ago that was true. And then 17 “Often Been Kissed” – now we are talking. 56 “Was She Worth It?” was the old price of a marriage license. Usually, the players shout back “Every penny!” Aww….
  • “Two Fat Ladies” a bit offensive? - In 2009, John Sayers, a bingo caller, who ran charity bingo games in the Sudbury, Suffolk was advised by a council clerk to refrain from using the funny calls in case someone in the audience feels offended. This sparked a lot of discussions and later on John reported that no one ever felt offended by the calls, but now the players were moaning because simply announcing the numbers was boring. Rob Hutchinson, an industry expert, commented:
“The call of ‘two fat ladies’ in bingo is part of our heritage. What’s the alternative, ‘two generously proportioned people of either gender?’ It’s not very snappy.”

Modern Bingo Calls – Maybe a Bit More Comprehensible?

In 2003, the holiday camp operator Butlins made an attempt to replace some of the outdated rhymes from the 50′s with new ones that are more relevant to the modern day. They even hired a professor of popular culture to forge the new calls. The traditional rhyming slang was a mirror of the Postwar Britain, but these references are long forgotten. The professor had to come up with associations from the new millennium that mean something to the British players.

Thus 30 became Ali G and 32 was changed to the Jimmy Choo in honour of the popular shoe designer (and let’s not forget that Sex and the City was a big craze at that time..oh Carrie, we do miss you). J Lo’s Bum was immortalised in the rhyme for 71 and 7 got its name from David Beckham and his famous jersey. And although some of these are quite creative, they did not make it, did not turn into a norm and are now so rarely used that we can’t think of a single online operator that has chosen J Lo’s buttocks over the good old drum. Whatever you call the balls, it’s bingo and it will always be a favourite game of us Britons. I hope you became proficient bingo lingo speakers after reading this article and GLA!

* This article was researched and created by the team behind For more interesting topics on various bingo-related topics, please check out our site.

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