cue

1 of 5

noun (1)

: the letter q

cue

2 of 5

noun (2)

1
a
: a signal (such as a word, phrase, or bit of stage business) to a performer to begin a specific speech or action
That last line is your cue to exit the stage.
b
: something serving a comparable purpose : hint
I'll take that yawn as my cue to leave.
2
: a feature indicating the nature of something perceived
The expressions on people's faces give us visual cues about their feelings.
3
archaic : the part one has to perform in or as if in a play
4
archaic : mood, humor

cue

3 of 5

verb (1)

cued; cuing or cueing

transitive verb

1
: to give a cue to : prompt
cued the band to begin
2
: to insert into a continuous performance
cue in sound effects

cue

4 of 5

noun (3)

1
a
: a leather-tipped tapering rod for striking the cue ball (as in billiards and pool)
b
: a long-handled instrument with a concave head for shoving disks in shuffleboard
2

cue

5 of 5

verb (2)

cued; cuing or cueing

transitive verb

1
: queue
2
: to strike with a cue

intransitive verb

1
: queue
2
: to use a cue

Examples of cue in a Sentence

Noun (2) taking a cue from nature, scientists are developing safe and effective insecticides using insect hormones Noun (3) the cue to get tickets to the concert moved with agonizing slowness
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The collection takes cues from the designer’s own wedding in the summer of 2022, with pieces for cool brides, grooms, and guests alike. Anny Choi, Vogue, 2 July 2024 Lands’ End Chlorine-Resistant One-Piece Swimsuit Take a style cue from celebs like Reese Witherspoon and Dakota Johnson in this Lands’ End one-piece swimsuit that’s made for sunny pool days. Jamie Allison Sanders, Peoplemag, 29 June 2024 To get a better idea about possible waves on Titan a bit sooner, Palermo’s team went for inferring their presence from indirect cues. Jacek Krywko, Ars Technica, 25 June 2024 These cues are an essential part of life offline, if only at a subconscious level. Dan Brooks, The Atlantic, 24 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for cue 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cue.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English cu half a farthing (spelled form of q, abbreviation for Latin quadrans quarter of an as)

Noun (2) and Verb (1)

probably from qu, abbreviation (used as a direction in actors' copies of plays) of Latin quando when

Noun (3) and Verb (2)

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

First Known Use

Noun (1)

circa 1755, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

1922, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

circa 1749, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

circa 1784, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cue was in 1553

Dictionary Entries Near cue

Cite this Entry

“Cue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cue. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

cue

1 of 3 noun
1
: a word, phrase, or action in a play serving as a signal for the next actor to speak or do something
2
: something serving as a signal or suggestion : hint

cue

2 of 3 verb
cued; cuing
: to give a cue to

cue

3 of 3 noun
1
: a tapering rod used in playing billiards or pool
2
Etymology

Noun

probably from q or qu, abbreviations for Latin quando "when," formerly used in actors' copies of scripts of plays

Noun

from French queue "tail, a line of people," from early French cue, coe "tail," from Latin cauda "tail" — related to coward, queue, coda see Word History at coward, queue

Medical Definition

cue

noun
: a minor stimulus acting as an indication of the nature of the perceived object or situation
foreshortened lines in the picture are cues to depth perception

More from Merriam-Webster on cue

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!