Back in the 1530s in Italy, a new kind of lottery game emerged called Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia. In it, each player had a sort of numbered grid, and if their numbers were drawn out of a bag, they would win. This game became especially popular in pre-Revolution France, where they changed the grid size. The first person to make a horizontal row would win. In the 1800s, the game was used in Germany to help children with math. Eventually, this found its way to America in the early 1900s. Here, people needed a way to keep track of what tiles were called without marking the paper, so they could reuse sheets. They made use with what they had, and they had beans. It was because of this that the game came to be called beano, and players would shout out beano! if they had their beans lined up in any row, column, or diagonal. Much easier to say than Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia, anyway. Later, somebody somewhere accidentally said bingo! instead of beano! and it stuck, mainly because it gave the sound a more satisfying and ringing tone No connection to Old MacDonald.
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd