1 [kyoo]
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.
anything that excites to action; stimulus.
a hint; intimation; guiding suggestion.
the part a person is to play; a prescribed or necessary course of action.
a sensory signal used to identify experiences, facilitate memory, or organize responses.
Archaic. frame of mind; mood.
verb (used with object), cued, cuing.
to provide with a cue or indication; give a cue to; prompt: Will you cue me on my lines?
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.
to search for and reach (a specific track on a recording) (sometimes followed by up ).
cue (someone) in, Informal. to inform; give instructions, information, news, etc., to: Cue him in on the plans for the dance.
miss a cue,
to fail to respond to a cue.
Informal. to miss the point: You could tell by his expression that he had missed a cue.

1545–55; spelled name of the letter q as an abbreviation (found in acting scripts) of Latin quandō when

1. signal. 3. sign, clue, key, tip, inkling. Unabridged


2 [kyoo]
a long, tapering rod, tipped with a soft leather pad, used to strike the ball in billiards, pool, etc.
a long, usually wooden stick with a concave head, used to propel the disks in shuffleboard.
a queue of hair.
a queue or file, as of persons awaiting their turn.
verb (used with object), cued, cuing.
to tie into a queue.
to strike with a cue.

1725–35; < French queue tail, Old French coue < Latin cōda, earlier cauda tail; cf. coward, queue


3 [kyoo]
the letter Q, q.

1400–50; late Middle English cu; conventional adaptation in spelling of the letter name Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cue1 (kjuː)
1.  a.  (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
 b.  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
vb (usually foll by in or into) , cues, cueing, cued
5.  (tr) to give a cue or cues to (an actor)
6.  to signal (to something or somebody) at a specific moment in a musical or dramatic performance: to cue in a flourish of trumpets
7.  (tr) to give information or a reminder to (someone)
8.  (intr) to signal the commencement of filming, as with the word "Action!"
[C16: probably from name of the letter q, used in an actor's script to represent Latin quando when]

cue2 (kjuː)
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
vb , cues, cueing, cued
4.  to drive (a ball) with a cue
5.  (tr) to twist or tie (the hair) into a cue
[C18: variant of queue]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"stage direction," 1553, from Q, used 16c., 17c. in plays to indicate actors' entrances, probably abbrev. of L. quando "when" or a similar word. The verb is 1928, from the noun.

"billiard stick," 1749, var. of queue (q.v.). Cue ball first recorded 1881.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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