The Origins of the Nursery Rhyme ‘Bingo’

It’s pretty easy to get consumed by all things bingo-related. Even the music you like!

There are an awful lot of songs that might remind you of bingo. The one main song that immediately comes to mind is the popular children’s rhyme of the same name, “Bingo”. Let’s dive into the origins of this well-known folk song.

First, what are the actual words?

The Lyrics to the Nursery Rhyme ‘Bingo’

There was a farmer had a dog,

and Bingo was his name-oh.

B.I.N.G.O.

B.I.N.G.O.

B.I.N.G.O.

And Bingo was his name-oh.

There was a farmer had a dog,

and Bingo was his name-oh.

(clap) -I.N.G.O.

(clap) -I.N.G.O.

(clap) -I.N.G.O.

And Bingo was his name-oh.

There was a farmer had a dog,

and Bingo was his name-oh.

(clap)-(clap) -N.G.O.

(clap)-(clap) -N.G.O.

(clap)-(clap) -N.G.O.

And Bingo was his name-oh.

There was a farmer had a dog,

and Bingo was his name-oh.

(clap)-(clap)-(clap) -G.O.

(clap)-(clap)-(clap) -G.O.

(clap)-(clap)-(clap) -G.O.

And Bingo was his name-oh.

There was a farmer had a dog,

and Bingo was his name-oh.

(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-O

(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-O

(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-O

And Bingo was his name-oh.

There was a farmer had a dog,

and Bingo was his name-oh.

(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)

(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)

(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)

And Bingo was his name-oh.

Origins of the song

Could this dog be called bingo?

The true origins of this song are hard to find! It’s been sung for generations. So long, in fact, that there aren’t many historical records that exist to tell us who authored the song.

We know the song is most likely Scottish. A very early version of it is known to have been published in London, back in 1780. This version, though, is wildly different to the version we’re so very fond of today. In fact, it wasn’t actually entitled ‘Bingo’! It was called ‘The Farmer’s dog leapt over the stile’ The lyrics were:

The farmer’s dog leapt o’er the stile,

His name was little Bingo,

The farmer’s dog leapt o’er the stile,

His name was little Bingo.

B with an I, I with an N

N with a G, G with an O

His name was little Bingo

B.I.N.G.O!

His name was little Bingo

The farmer lov’d a cup of good ale,

He call’d it rare good stingo,

The farmer lov’d a cup of good ale,

He call’d it rare good stingo.

S—T with an I, I with an N,

N with a G, G with an O

He call’d it rare good stingo

S.T.I.N.G.O!

He call’d it rare good stingo

And is this not a sweet little song?

I think it is, by jingo!

And is this not a sweet little song?

I think it is, by jingo!

J with an I, I with an N,

N with a G, G with an O

I think it is, by jingo!

J.I.N.G.O!

I think it is, by jingo!

Over the course of decades, the repetition of this song saw subtle changes and it developed into the popular folk song we know today. Hopefully an interesting tidbit for you in between games of bingo!