q

noun, often capitalized, often attributive
\ ˈkyü How to pronounce q (audio) \
plural q's or qs\ ˈkyüz How to pronounce qs (audio) \

Definition of q

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the 17th letter of the English alphabet
b : a graphic representation of this letter
c : a speech counterpart of orthographic q
2 : a graphic device for reproducing the letter q
3 : one designated q especially as the 17th in order or class
4 : something shaped like the letter Q

Definition of q (Entry 2 of 2)

1 quart
2 quartile
3 quarto
4 queen
5 query
6 question
7 quetzal
8 quire

Keep scrolling for more

Is it que, queue, or q?

One of our persistent—and more puzzling—lookups is for the word que, which is entered in our dictionary (capitalized) as an abbreviation for Quebec. Qué is also a Spanish word that means “what.” That is not, however, the word that many people are looking for when they look up que in our dictionary. Que is homophonous with a number of other words, most of which have wildly different spellings and meanings. One of the words that people are looking for when they look up que is queue, a word that means “line” (as in, “We waited in the ticket queue.”) Sometimes people are looking for the homonym cue, or “a signal to start or do something” (“The lights just went out—that’s my cue to start the movie.”). Very occasionally, people look up que for coup, a word that refers to a violent and sudden overthrow or takeover of a government (“reports on the latest coup attempt”). And if you’re looking for the phonetic spelling of the letter q, try again: that’s cue.

Examples of q in a Sentence

Noun The word “quart” begins with a q. The word “quart” begins with q.

First Known Use of q

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about q

Time Traveler for q

Time Traveler

The first known use of q was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for q

Cite this Entry

“Q.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/q. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for q

How to pronounce q (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of q

: the 17th letter of the English alphabet

q

noun, often capitalized
\ ˈkyü How to pronounce q (audio) \
plural q's or qs\ ˈkyüz \

Kids Definition of q

: the 17th letter of the English alphabet

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on q

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with q

Spanish Central: Translation of q

Nglish: Translation of q for Spanish Speakers

Comments on q

What made you want to look up q? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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