from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The wife or widow of a king.
  • noun A woman sovereign.
  • noun A woman considered preeminent in a particular field.
  • noun A woman chosen as the winner of a contest or the honorary head of an event.
  • noun Something having eminence or supremacy in a given domain and personified as a woman.
  • noun The most powerful chess piece, able to move in any direction over any number of empty squares in a straight line.
  • noun A playing card bearing the figure of a queen, ranking above the jack and below the king.
  • noun The sole reproductive female, or one of several such females, in a colony of eusocial insects, such as bees, wasps, ants, or termites.
  • noun The reproductive female in a colony of naked mole rats.
  • noun A mature female cat, especially one kept for breeding purposes.
  • noun Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a gay man.
  • noun A queen-size bed.
  • intransitive verb To make (a woman) a queen.
  • intransitive verb Games To raise (a pawn) to queen in chess.
  • intransitive verb To become a queen in chess.
  • idiom (queen it) To act like a queen; domineer.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To play the queen; act the part or character of a queen; domineer: with an indefinite it.
  • In chess, to make a queen of: said of a pawn on its reaching the eighth square.
  • In apiculture, to supply with a queen; introduce a queen to: said of a colony of bees.
  • noun Same as quin.
  • noun Same as queen-wasp.
  • noun A female eat. In modern catteries the name is given only to female cats used for careful and scientific breeding. Also called queen-cat.
  • noun The female of a termite or white ant. See king, 6.
  • noun The consort of a king.
  • noun A woman who is the sovereign of a realm; a female sovereign.
  • noun Figuratively, a woman who is chief or preeminent among others; one who presides: as, queen of beauty; queen of the May (see Mayqueen).
  • noun Hence, anything personified as chief or greatest, when considered as possessing female attributes.
  • noun In entomology, a queen bee or queen ant.
  • noun A playing-card on which a queen is depicted.
  • noun In chess, the piece which is by far the most powerful of all for attack. See chess. Abbreviated Q.
  • noun A variety of roofing-slate, measuring 3 feet long and 2 feet wide. Compare duchess, 2.
  • noun Among Roman Catholics, a title given to the Virgin Mary.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To act the part of a queen.
  • intransitive verb (Chess.) To make a queen (or other piece, at the player's discretion) of by moving it to the eighth row.
  • noun The wife of a king.
  • noun A woman who is the sovereign of a kingdom; a female monarch
  • noun A woman eminent in power or attractions; the highest of her kind
  • noun The fertile, or fully developed, female of social bees, ants, and termites.
  • noun (Chess) The most powerful, and except the king the most important, piece in a set of chessmen.
  • noun A playing card bearing the picture of a queen.
  • noun A kind of apple; a queening.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a female bee, especially the female of the honeybee. See Honeybee.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a very large West Indian cameo conch (Cassis cameo). It is much used for making cameos.
  • noun the wife of a reigning king.
  • noun the widow of a king.
  • noun formerly a revenue of the queen consort of England, arising from gifts, fines, etc.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English quene, from Old English cwēn; see gwen- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English queen, quene, cwen, from Old English cwēn, cwǣn ("woman; wife, consort; queen, empress, royal princess"), from Proto-Germanic *kwēniz (“woman”), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷḗn (“woman”). Cognate with Scots queen, wheen ("queen"), Old Saxon quān ("wife"; > Middle Low German quene ("elderly woman")), Norwegian dialectal kvån ("wife"), Icelandic kvon ("wife"), Gothic 𐌵𐌴𐌽𐍃 (qēns, "wife"). Related to Old English cwene ("woman; female serf, quean, prostitute"), see quean.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word queen.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • In chess, the queen is one of the chessmen, very strange.

    February 21, 2007

  • Perhaps there are countries where the word most immediately conjures up thoughts of insects, but I don't live in one of those.

    I think the rook is an odder chessman, though.

    November 30, 2007

  • Me and the Major don't see eye to eye on a

    Number of things, he'll take a guy like me

    And put him in the army

    Cause the Queen's own army makes a man of you.

    (Me and the Major, by Belle and Sebastian)

    January 1, 2009