Buzzword Bingo Explained

Buzzword bingo is a great way to add fun to otherwise-boring events like unnecessary meetings or suspiciously predictable movies. Here’s what to know about this way of enjoying bingo.

Buzzword Bingo Explained

How Buzzword Bingo Works

Unlike regular bingo, buzzword bingo usually starts with an American-style five-by-five grid, with an optional free space in the middle. From there, each player fills out a set of words in each square based on what they expect to hear in a particular event.

If you’re going to a business meeting, you might add phrases like “touch base”, “get the ball rolling”, “on my radar”, and “outside the box” to assorted squares. Some people use an online generator and randomise the spaces so participants use the same set of phrases.

As you go through the event, mark off each buzzword as you hear someone say it and see how many you can catch. Some people play buzzword bingo alone to pass the time, while others get the whole office in on it to spice things up a little.

Variation: Actions and Events

In a variation of buzzword bingo, you can add actions or events to the card, not just set phrases that someone says. For example, if you’re playing buzzword bingo for a business meeting and one of your coworkers occasionally brings in food or adjust his tie, you could add that as a square.


Winning Conditions

Buzzword bingo is primarily for fun, so it doesn’t always have prizes attached. However, companies that encourage people to play may add small prizes, such as a gift card to a local restaurant.

Similarly, win conditions can vary. The five-by-five grid for buzzword bingo makes it much easier to create shapes, so winners may need to create an arrow, a pyramid, a number, a letter, or some other shapes. A few places even try to convert their company logo into a winning design.

The winning condition can be almost anything people agree to ahead of time. Buzzword bingo is rarely available online, so most people don’t worry too much about setting the winning patterns for these.


Buzzword Philosophy

Buzzword bingo is becoming more popular because it adds interactivity and interest to situations that can be pretty boring otherwise. As much as the business world hates to admit it, many people just aren’t good presenters and don’t know how to keep meetings interesting.

Gamifying work is a relatively recent strategy companies are looking at to make employees happier. Doing this has two important components.

First, the game itself needs to be fun. If nobody is interested in doing it, it will not work. Bingo is a fast-paced and well-understood game, and many people find it fun enough to play at work whether or not the company is specifically sponsoring it.

Second, the game should benefit the company and improve productivity somehow. Buzzword bingo encourages people to listen closely to speakers, making it easier to pay attention to people who can otherwise be a bit of a snooze.

In other words, buzzword bingo fits nicely into the principles of gamifying things at work.


Buzzword Bingo Outside of Work

While buzzword bingo is especially popular in business environments because it can make boring meetings and events more fun, that’s hardly the only place you can play it. Here are some other places you can enjoy buzzword bingo.

Movies at Home

Buzzword bingo is a great way to play along if you’re watching a predictable movie. Here, you can add specific words or phrases, but also plot elements and story beats you expect to see.

This form of buzzword bingo is essentially guessing what’s going to happen in the story, then turning it into a game to see if you’re right. Buzzword bingo for movies works best when you play it with family or friends. Consider appointing one person as the scorekeeper to mark off each phrase or event as it happens.


Another way to play buzzword bingo is by keeping track of things happening at a sports event. This can be points or goals scored, penalties given, actions from an audience or almost anything else you suspect could happen during the game.

Using buzzword bingo for sports can liven up an otherwise-boring match or add some tension and drama to an already high-stakes event. For some extra challenge, you can add criteria to the squares, such as one team winning by a certain margin.

Most buzzword bingo games cover a few hours of events, but that’s not a hard requirement. You can extend buzzword bingo over an entire sports season and adjust things accordingly.

Just like watching movies, this is another situation where playing with a group of friends can be more fun. Adding a game element encourages people to keep watching and playing, and you can add a minor prize like the rest of the group treating the winner(s) to lunch sometime.


Buzzword bingo can be a great way to get people more involved at parties and celebrations, including weddings.

There are many ways to do this, so don’t be afraid to get creative. For example, you can keep track of buzzwords in speeches people give or when guests participate in specific events.

If you’re running a birthday party for children, you can have adults mark off bingo cards when children do or enjoy certain activities. This encourages kids to make the most of a hard-planned party.

Special Events

You can play buzzword bingo for almost any special event, from an election to a daily commute. You can try to predict what other people eat, whether you’ll see certain colours or almost anything else you can imagine.

That’s the real fun of buzzword bingo. There are plenty of great places for traditional bingo, and sites like Glitter Bingo can offer monetised ways to play. However, buzzword bingo is an easy way to relax and have fun by mixing bingo into your daily life.


Final Thoughts

Buzzword bingo is a fun, flexible way to enjoy bingo in almost any part of your life. Whether trying to spice up a corporate meeting or have more fun with family and friends for specific events, a little creativity is all it takes to make a bingo board and start having fun.

Last updated: Jan 24, 2023

Lillian Grey

183 Articles

Lillian Grey is a long time online bingo and slots player who started putting her thoughts down on digitial paper around 2008. Having been covering the industry for quite some time, she is able to spot the good from the bad when it comes to online bingo. An ever present at indsutry conferences and events, Lillian likes to meet fellow bingo enthusiasts to share stories and ideas, with maybe a glass of wine (or two) involved! When not covering the ever changing world of online bingo, she likes to read a good book and go for family walks in the forest.

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