General / The History Behind the Bingo Calls That We Know Today

The History Behind the Bingo Calls That We Know Today

Updated on May 13, 2022 | by Alex Smith

Bingo Calls

What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about bingo? Is it the classic bingo cards, the lucky dip of the numbers of maybe our favorite – bingo calls? These cheeky nicknames bring loads of fun into the game – they can be funny, they can rhyme, or they can be interesting – also try the Fiddle Dee Dough slot.

Some of our favorites include:

  • “62,  tickety boo”
  • “11, legs eleven”
  • “number 2, one little duck”

Where did these charming little nicknames come from, and is there much history behind them? Read on to find out!

Where and When Did Bingo Calls Originate?

The history of bingo goes all the way back to the 16th century in Italy, but the number didn’t have nicknames yet! Calls were first thought up in the 1940s during World War Two! It was a hard time for everyone, so servicemen got creative and began playing a game called “Housey Housey”, a basic version of bingo that aimed to keep people in high spirits. The calls were a bit more naughty back then, but these days Bingo is a family-friendly game – although we bet you know a bingo caller who has a cheeky selection of naughty calls! Overall, bingo calls are very much a UK invention! The game really started to pick up in the 50s, and ever since it has had a huge impact on the game of bingo, with other countries even adopting calls for their own variants of bingo. Imagine what bingo calls from different countries would sound like!

Our Favourite Historic Bingo Calls

A lot of classic bingo calls are just famous for being catchy and funny, but some of our favorite bingo calls actually have a rather interesting history. Take a look at the following examples and see if you can work out their history before you read their meanings!           

NumberCallHistory
23“The Lord is My Shephard”The first words in Psalm 23 of the Old Testament
65“Old Age Pension”65 – a reference to the former British retirement age
57Heinz Varieties57 is a reference to the number of varieties of different Heinz products – cool!

Bingo calls can often be references to history, pop culture, slang, or just about anything else in life – they’re meant to be relatable, something that will make everyone smile. These examples do that job just perfect.

Bingo Calls: The Cherry on Top

As you can see, bingo calls vary from the silly to the witty, to the historically interesting! We love that they were invented to provide entertainment and comfort to the hard-working army troops of Britain – what a brilliant idea! They’re certainly not a thing of the past– the bingo calls that we love are here to stay. Who knows – perhaps you could try to spread a new bingo call of your own!