Bingo and Cockney Rhyming Slang

In bingo, a lot of the numbers have been given rhyming nicknames that come from Cockney rhyming slang. For example, number 3 is “one little flea”, number 25 is sometimes called “duck and dive” and number 86 is “between the sticks”.

Bingo callers – the people who call out the numbers – often improvise or alternate between using different nicknames for the same numbers. So even the number 8, which is usually known as the “fat lady”, may be called as “at the gate”. The number 3 may be called as “cup of tea” or even “monkey on the tree”.

Origins of Cockney Rhyming Slang

The real Cockney rhyming slang doesn’t use just a rhyming word in place of another word. It’s more complicated than that. It uses just one word out of phrase that rhymes.

Take “use your loaf”, which means “use your head”. Originally, someone figured that “loaf of bread” rhymes with head and started using “loaf” instead of “head”. The word took, and “use your loaf” was added to the dictionary of cockney rhyming slang.

Consider another example. If you “have a butcher’s”, it means you have a look. This came from “butcher’s hook”, which of course rhymes with “look”.

Most recently, even Britney Spears has featured in cockney rhyming slang. Britney Spears rhymes with “beers”, so – you guessed it – “britneys” is used to mean beers.

Nobody’s sure exactly why or how Cockneys started using rhyming slang, but many people think it was a way to keep outsiders from knowing what they were saying. This could obviously come in useful, whether the outsiders were coppers or naive visitors to markets.

Cockney Rhyming Slang and Bingo Numbers

Here are some examples of popular Cockney rhyming slang for bingo numbers. Be warned though, bingo callers may improvise!

2. Me and you, Peek a boo
3. One little flea, Cup of tea, Monkey on the tree
4. The one next door, On the floor, Shut the door
5. Man alive
6. Chopsticks, Tom’s tricks, In a fix
7. God’s in heaven, David Beckham
8. At the gate
10. Big fat hen, Cock and hen, Uncle Ben
17. Dancing queen (from the Abba song of the same name), Posh and Becks
23. A duck and a flea
25. Duck and dive
27. Gateway to heaven
28. Duck and its mate
29. Rise and shine
30. Dirty Gertie
31. Get up and run
32. Buckle my Shoe
33. Two little fleas
34. Ask for more
35. Jump and jive, Flirty wives
37. A flea in heaven
38. Christmas cake
41. Life’s begun, Time for fun
42. Whinny the Poo
43. Down on your knees
46. Up to tricks
51. I love my mum
53. Stuck in the tree
54. Clean the floor
55. Snakes alive
58. Make them wait
61. Bakers bun
62. Tickety boo, Turn on the screw
63. Tickle me
64. Red raw
66. Clickety click
67. Made in heaven
68. Saving grace
71. Bang on the drum
73. Crutch with a flea, Lucky three
74. Candy store
78. Heavens gate
81. Stop and run
82. Straight on through
83. Fat lady with a flea, Time for tea
85. Staying alive
86. Between the sticks