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noun \ˈkyü\

Simple Definition of queue

  • : a line of people who are waiting for something

  • computers : a series of instructions that are stored in a computer so that they can be processed later

Full Definition of queue

  1. 1 :  a braid of hair usually worn hanging at the back of the head

  2. 2 :  a waiting line especially of persons or vehicles

  3. 3 a :  a sequence of messages or jobs held in temporary storage awaiting transmission or processing b :  a data structure that consists of a list of records such that records are added at one end and removed from the other

Examples of queue

  1. The Tiong Bahru hawker center in Singapore might well be my favorite place in the world to start the day. I remember vividly my first visit: I arrived jetlagged and hungry at seven in the morning to find vendors stir-frying greens in gigantic woks, sending up whooshes of smoke fragrant with garlic. Long queues of businessmen and construction workers and families who likely lived in the nearby housing projects snaked from the cash register of each stall. —James Oseland, Saveur, October 2008

  2. Around the time the Soviet Union ceased to exist, I was waiting in the entry queue at Fiumicino Airport in Rome when I noticed a party of several dozen young Russian girls being fast-tracked past a freshly opened control window. —Peter Robb, New York Times Book Review, 25 May 2008

  3. But many more people deserve the Nobel than get it. Krauss should've gotten it years ago. Though by now so many other discoveries have been made that he's farther down in an ever increasing queue. —Carl Djerassi Cantor's Dilemma, 1989

  4. We were forced to stand in a queue.

  5. Three jobs remain in the printer queue.

Origin of queue

French, literally, tail, from Old French cue, coe, Latin cauda, coda

First Known Use: 1748

Other Computer-Related Terms



verb \ˈkyü\

Simple Definition of queue

  • : to form or wait in a line

Full Definition of queue

queuedqueu·ing or queue·ing

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to arrange or form in a queue (see 1queue)

  3. intransitive verb
  4. :  to line up or wait in a queue —often used with up

queu·er noun

Examples of queue

  1. The World's Food Fair, Boston. October 1896. Admission: 25 cents. Huge crowds throng the Mechanics Hall convention center. Women queue up for free samples from 200 different vendors: cereals, gelatins, extracts, candy, and custards. —Christopher Kimball, Cook's Illustrated, January & February 2008

  2. Nothing hacks off a national lawmaker more than a person who will not wait in line, unless that line is in front of an elevator at the U.S. Capitol, where Senators and Representatives use private elevators, lest they have to queue with their constituents. —Steve Rushin, Time, 10 Sept. 2007

  3. The crowd was queuing at the snack bar.

Origin of queue

(see 1queue)

First Known Use: 1777

Seen and Heard

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February 6, 2016

an official order, decree, or edict

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