follow Dictionary.com

Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers

cue1

[kyoo] /kyu/
noun
1.
anything said or done, on or off stage, that is followed by a specific line or action:
An off-stage door slam was his cue to enter.
2.
anything that excites to action; stimulus.
3.
a hint; intimation; guiding suggestion.
4.
the part a person is to play; a prescribed or necessary course of action.
5.
a sensory signal used to identify experiences, facilitate memory, or organize responses.
6.
Archaic. frame of mind; mood.
verb (used with object), cued, cuing.
7.
to provide with a cue or indication; give a cue to; prompt:
Will you cue me on my lines?
8.
to insert, or direct to come in, in a specific place in a musical or dramatic performance (usually followed by in or into):
to cue in a lighting effect.
9.
to search for and reach (a specific track on a recording) (sometimes followed by up).
Idioms
10.
cue (someone) in, Informal. to inform; give instructions, information, news, etc., to:
Cue him in on the plans for the dance.
11.
miss a cue,
  1. to fail to respond to a cue.
  2. Informal. to miss the point:
    You could tell by his expression that he had missed a cue.
Origin
1545-1555
1545-55; spelled name of the letter q as an abbreviation (found in acting scripts) of Latin quandō when
Synonyms
1. signal. 3. sign, clue, key, tip, inkling.

cue2

[kyoo] /kyu/
noun
1.
a long, tapering rod, tipped with a soft leather pad, used to strike the ball in billiards, pool, etc.
2.
a long, usually wooden stick with a concave head, used to propel the disks in shuffleboard.
3.
a queue of hair.
4.
a queue or file, as of persons awaiting their turn.
verb (used with object), cued, cuing.
5.
to tie into a queue.
6.
to strike with a cue.
Origin
1725-35; < French queue tail, Old French coue < Latin cōda, earlier cauda tail; cf. coward, queue

cue3

[kyoo] /kyu/
noun
1.
the letter Q, q.
Origin
1400-50; late Middle English cu; conventional adaptation in spelling of the letter name
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for cue
  • Temperature is often a cue to enter or emerge from hibernation.
  • As if on cue, a lion roared in the safari park across the reservoir.
  • As others have suggested, sit somewhere in the middle, where you can see other folks and take your cue from what they do.
  • As she waits for her final cue, she looks out into the audience and sees no sign of her father.
  • The choice each monkey had to make was whether to see an earlier informative cue.
  • The surrounding material, especially the periosteum and the growth protein, helped to cue the stem cells to produce bone tissue.
  • The political leaders claim to take their cue from the financial markets but they are misreading the signals.
  • He had mastered the game in his head before he finally picked up a pool cue, at the age of eight.
  • Reformers may indeed be taking the premier's cue and cranking up the decibel too.
  • Ledger's jousting lance breaks against his opponent's breastplate right on cue.
British Dictionary definitions for cue

cue1

/kjuː/
noun
1.
  1. (in the theatre, films, music, etc) anything spoken or done that serves as a signal to an actor, musician, etc, to follow with specific lines or action
  2. on cue, at the right moment
2.
a signal or reminder to do something
3.
(psychol) the part of any sensory pattern that is identified as the signal for a response
4.
the part, function, or action assigned to or expected of a person
verb cues, cueing, cued
5.
(transitive) to give a cue or cues to (an actor)
6.
usually foll by in or into. to signal (to something or somebody) at a specific moment in a musical or dramatic performance: to cue in a flourish of trumpets
7.
(transitive) to give information or a reminder to (someone)
8.
(intransitive) to signal the commencement of filming, as with the word "Action!"
Word Origin
C16: probably from name of the letter q, used in an actor's script to represent Latin quando when

cue2

/kjuː/
noun
1.
(billiards, snooker) a long tapered shaft with a leather tip, used to drive the balls
2.
hair caught at the back forming a tail or braid
3.
(US) a variant spelling of queue
verb cues, cueing, cued
4.
to drive (a ball) with a cue
5.
(transitive) to twist or tie (the hair) into a cue
Word Origin
C18: variant of queue
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for cue
n.

"stage direction," 1550s, from Q, which was used 16c., 17c. in stage plays to indicate actors' entrances, probably as an abbreviation of Latin quando "when" (see quandary) or a similar Latin adverb. Shakespeare has it as both Q and cue.

"billiard stick," 1749, variant of queue (n.). Cue ball first recorded 1881.

v.

1928, from cue (n.1). Related: Cued, cueing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for cue

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for cue

5
7
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with cue

Nearby words for cue