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

  • noun A line of waiting people or vehicles.
  • noun A long braid of hair worn hanging down the back of the neck; a pigtail.
  • noun A sequence of stored data or programs awaiting processing.
  • noun A data structure from which the first item that can be retrieved is the one stored earliest.
  • intransitive verb To get in line.
  • intransitive verb To place in a sequence.
  • intransitive verb To braid or twist (hair) into a queue.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To tie, braid, or fasten in a queue or pigtail.
  • noun A tail; in heraldry, the tail of a beast.
  • noun A tail or pendent braid of hair; a pigtail: originally part of the wig, but afterward, and toward the close of the eighteenth century, when it was in common use, formed of the hair of the head. See cue,1.
  • noun Same as cue, 2.
  • noun The tail-piece of a violin or similar instrument.
  • noun In musical notation, the stem or tail of a note.

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

  • noun A tail-like appendage of hair; a pigtail.
  • noun A line of persons waiting anywhere.
  • transitive verb To fasten, as hair, in a queue.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A waiting list or other means of organizing people or objects into a first-come-first-served order.
  • verb UK To put oneself or itself at the end of a waiting line.
  • verb UK To arrange themselves into a physical waiting queue.
  • verb computing To add to a queue data structure.
  • verb To fasten the hair into a queue.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a line of people or vehicles waiting for something
  • noun a braid of hair at the back of the head
  • verb form a queue, form a line, stand in line
  • noun (information processing) an ordered list of tasks to be performed or messages to be transmitted


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

[French, tail, queue, from Old French cue, tail, from Latin cauda, cōda.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman queue, keu et al. and Middle French queu, cueue et al., from Latin cauda.


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  • At the head of the queue is a woman carrying a baby in her arms.

    Fossum and Cotterill: tales of contrast Maxine 2008

  • At the head of the queue is a woman carrying a baby in her arms.

    June 2008 Maxine 2008

  • At the head of the queue is a woman carrying a baby in her arms.

    Fossum and Cotterill: tales of contrast Maxine 2008

  • Next project in the queue is a Harry Potter scarf.

    Spiral Blanket Complete! 2005

  • Next project in the queue is a Harry Potter scarf.

    June 2005 2005

  • Mayende also argues that illegal occupations could not be rewarded by providing access to housing on a preferential basis - which he refers to as queue-jumping.

    ANC Daily News Briefing 2004

  • These tickets will be called "Cattle Class", and passengers will be treated the same as existing customers but importantly, will not have the put up with standing in queue with the plebs in the standard "Pleb Class" that already exists.

    Archive 2009-02-01 Norfolk Blogger 2009

  • I also had a chance to taste Morten's 2007 Meritage blend which was in queue for the bottling line.

    Jason Feulner 2009

  • And I know I'll be in queue to see it twice. shelton p lindsay

    Veronica Mars Movie Could Still Happen, Arrested Development Perhaps Not | /Film 2010

  • These tickets will be called "Cattle Class", and passengers will be treated the same as existing customers but importantly, will not have the put up with standing in queue with the plebs in the standard "Pleb Class" that already exists.

    Ryanair to charge for air on planes Norfolk Blogger 2009


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  • "what can lose 4 of its 5 letters and still say what it names?"

    December 7, 2006

  • Category: Word Oddities

    Answer: Britishism that has one consonant followed by four vowels

    Question: What is queue?

    (2 out of 3 contestants got it right)

    December 15, 2006

  • Also a common term in Computer Science, describing a data structure which is essentially a queue, first in, first out. As opposed to a stack, which is last in, first out.

    December 15, 2006

  • Not to be confused with cue.

    April 29, 2007

  • A pool stick.

    April 30, 2007

  • "Please Q here."

    October 21, 2007

  • I'm surprised how popular this one is. I'm British and I hate queues. Give me a third-world scrum any day. Of course it will be different when I'm 64.

    October 21, 2007

  • I like it because it's just a bunch of vowels, preceded by the bizarrest letter in the alphabet. Plus, it should be impossible to pronounce but is instead deceptively easy.

    October 22, 2007

  • Ok, frindley has to ask the kind of naive, embarrassing question that foreigners ask. Here goes: In and around all the US election news are posts and items that draw attention to what sounds to me like excessive waiting in line. I just saw a piece with instructions about what to bring, what to wear and what to do while waiting. Folding chairs are mentioned, not drinking too much water is advised. Is it really so bad that people are queuing 2, 4, even 12 hours to vote? What's the background for that? (I don't think I've ever had to queue for more than 10 minutes to vote, so this seems surreal.)

    November 4, 2008

  • More polling booths are needed, methinks.

    November 4, 2008

  • Is this under-resourcing the result of a pessimistic miscalculation of the number of people who will actually turn out to vote?

    Or is it stinginess? Or are there bureaucratic or practical impediments to providing more booths?

    November 4, 2008

  • Well, frindley (and anyone else), first of all every district and polling place within a district is different. So you're going to hear stories of insane wait times but you won't hear all the stories of people who walked in, got their ballot, voted, and left. Some precincts and polling places are going to be overwhelmed by an unusually high number of voters this year (thank heaven, finally), because voter turnout (as I'm sure you've heard) is historically pretty pathetic. This year's different--or at least most of us who value participatory democracy are keeping our fingers crossed that it will be different. (I'm hoping for an outrageously high voter turnout percentage.)

    Second... I think there have been lines for some states/areas that have instituted "early voting," which is a fairly new concept. Many early voters (in states where this is allowed--not mine) reported long lines, because, again, nobody really knew how many people to expect. And again, they don't report it when it goes smoothly with little or no wait.

    What takes the longest time is not the actual voting, no matter what method is being used in your polling place. It's the showing of your I.D. and having it checked against the rolls of registered voters. That takes a minute or two, and nobody wants those poll workers to rush through it and do a shit job. Once you get your ballot, it's usually very quick.

    (Unless you watched the footage of Obama voting this morning. What the hell took him so long?)

    November 4, 2008

  • p.s. never be embarrassed to ask questions. :) It's how we all learn!

    November 4, 2008

  • Thank you :)

    I did hear that with the early voting there was a limit to one voting location per electorate (right term?), hence long lines in that instance.

    November 4, 2008

  • In one of my lives I write media releases for a political party. But come election day it's all hands to the pump, and as my work is done by then I've handed out how-to-votes at two elections this year. In Australia, where voting is on Saturdays, the pattern is this:

    - early rush from the get-it-out-of-the-way voters

    - steady stream throughout the day

    - peak about half an hour before the football starts

    - very slow late afternoon

    - quiet frenzy in the half-hour before polls close by the gee-I-almost-doggone-forgot voters.

    Early voting is called pre-poll voting here and is typically no more than 5-8% of votes cast. I say typically because it's significantly higher here in the Northern Territory where most voting in remote areas is done at mobile booths in the week leading up to the big day.

    November 4, 2008

  • The word you're looking for might be district or precinct. I think electorate is generally used to denote the entire voting public.

    I wanted to work the polls this year but missed the deadline. My employer is paying people's salaries if they're working the polls—i.e. you don't have to take a vacation day. A couple people in my office are doing it: from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. or later, with no breaks, and bring your own food and water. That's devotion.

    Edit: Frindley (or others), you might be interested in this article. Or not.

    November 4, 2008

  • Thanks, frindley, chained_bear, and bilby, for a lesson in democracy. :-)

    I stood in a rather long line this morning to vote, and it was probably the first time I didn't mind doing so--because I want to think the reason is that more Americans than usual have decided to vote. However, there was some muttering about the organization--or lack thereof--of those working the polls, which is apparently a chronic problem at this particular spot. They're only human, and this can sometimes make the wait even longer.

    Another trend I noticed today is that more voters brought children along. For whatever reasons they did so--on their way to dropping them off at school, couldn't find a babysitter--it was great to see.

    November 5, 2008

  • I made a point of bringing my spawn with me on every election day. Spawn cast first vote this year. *wipes tear*

    November 5, 2008

  • Yay! Good for Spawn!

    November 5, 2008

  • I voted in my living room last week with a fresh cup of coffee, soothing music and my trusty number two pencil. I enjoy being able to vote at my leisure (and yell at the ballot, who am I kidding), but I miss going to a polling place and chatting with people in line and the volunteers.

    November 5, 2008

  • Trivet - Don't you worry that something dreadfully important might be exposed about a candidate between the time you voted and election day? I would worry about that, but I'm a worrier. I'm having a little angina right now...

    November 5, 2008

  • Sometimes I wait longer to vote, but this time around I was pretty sure about all of the issues at hand. Mostly, I voted early because once your ballot has been received, the amount of campaign mail/political calls/door-to-door harassment dramatically decreases.

    November 5, 2008

  • Is that true?! *wishes there were early voting in Virginia*

    But I heard something else today that made me think, "Man, I'd vote early if I could": Barack Obama's grandmother voted early via absentee ballot. Her vote will be counted, because she was living when she voted. I thought that was cool. (And I would think the same if McCain's mother had, god forbid, passed away on the eve of the election.)

    I think I would miss talking to people in line too. Voting is a communal thing, as befits the American civic religion.

    November 5, 2008

  • It is in Oregon, probably because the whole state votes by mail. Nice to get it over with, but we sometimes have a longer wait for results. They're getting better though.

    We're used to it enough that "voting parties" have become somewhat popular, I think because people miss the social aspects of going to the polls.

    November 5, 2008

  • Ooh, voting parties sound like fun. So does getting shut of all the junk mail and recorded phone calls. *wishes PA had early voting too*

    November 5, 2008