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[kyoo] /kyu/
a braid of hair worn hanging down behind.
a file or line, especially of people waiting their turn.
Computers. a FIFO-organized sequence of items, as data, messages, jobs, or the like, waiting for action.
verb (used without object), verb (used with object), queued, queuing.
to form in a line while waiting (often followed by up).
Computers. to arrange (data, jobs, messages, etc.) into a queue.
1585-95; < Middle French < Latin cauda, cōda tail
Related forms
queuer, noun
Can be confused
cue, Kew, queue. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for queue
  • We entered through a private gate, which meant no queue or worries about luggage.
  • One day while standing in a bus queue we were discussing parts of England we should like to visit.
  • I'll put those questions in the queue for now, with the promise to get back to them in the order they were received.
  • Small logs were used to guide the ticket buyers as they form a queue.
  • Surely no one wants to go to the library, wait in the queue, and then thumb through drawers of cards.
  • There seems to be more queue-jumping by the powerful.
  • Under no circumstances is the sound of traffic a reliable queue to determine if it is safe to cross the road.
  • If there's a queue, a voice offers an automatic call-back without losing your place in line.
  • Lesser-known artists queue up for interviews, while superstars cut to the fronts of lines.
  • My first year, we would queue up at the beginning of semesters to register for classes on the main yard at 7 or 8 a.m.
British Dictionary definitions for queue


a line of people, vehicles, etc, waiting for something: a queue at the theatre
(computing) a list in which entries are deleted from one end and inserted at the other
a pigtail
jump the queue, See queue-jump
verb queues, queuing, queueing, queued
(intransitive) often foll by up. to form or remain in a line while waiting
(computing) to arrange (a number of programs) in a predetermined order for accessing by a computer
US and Canadian word line
Word Origin
C16 (in the sense: tail); C18 (in the sense: pigtail): via French from Latin cauda tail
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
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Word Origin and History for queue

late 15c., "band attached to a letter with seals dangling on the free end," from French queue "a tail," from Old French cue, coe "tail" (12c., also "penis"), from Latin coda (dialectal variant or alternative form of cauda) "tail," of unknown origin. Also in literal use in 16c. English, "tail of a beast," especially in heraldry. The Middle English metaphoric extension to "line of dancers" (c.1500) led to extended sense of "line of people, etc." (1837). Also used 18c. in sense of "braid of hair hanging down behind" (first attested 1748).


"to stand in a line," 1893, from queue (n.). Earlier "put hair up in a braid" (1777). Related: Queued; queueing. Churchill is said to have coined Queuetopia (1950), to describe Britain under Labour or Socialist rule.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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queue in Technology

A first-in first-out data structure used to sequence objects. Objects are added to the tail of the queue ("enqueued") and taken off the head ("dequeued").
For example, an operating system might use a queue to serialise concurrent demands for a resource such as a printer, processor or communications channel. Users might place files on a print queue and a background process or "demon" would take them off and print them. Another common use is to pass data between an interrupt handler and a user process.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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