Printable Version
Pronunciation: kyu Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A line of people or other things waiting their turn. 2. A list ordered from highest to lowest in priority.

Notes: It is interesting to note the things people associate with the lines they sometimes have to stand in. The Germans stand in a "snake" (Schlange) while the French stand in at "tail" (queue). English is one of the more boring languages because it offers only line and queue, which today is simply a synonym of line. Do be careful of the spelling. Do not confuse this word with cue, either the billiard stick or the hint to do something. The spelling may seem redundant, but both the UEs are required

In Play: Most often today's Good Word refers to a string of people waiting their turn to purchase something: "No one in the queue for tickets to see the Grateful Dead was under 50 years of age." However, anything waiting its turn among others of its kind is a part of a queue: "June McBride told William Arami that his proposal for her hand in matrimony was now third in queue since Harvey Wallbanger removed his name from her list."

Word History: Today's word comes from French queue "a tail", a respelling of Old French cue "tail". This word came from coda, a dialectal variant of Classical Latin cauda "tail". The origins of cauda are lost in the mists of ancient history. English borrowed French queue in 1748 to signify a single braid of hair hanging down the back of the neck. From 1802 until the middle of the 19th century this type of queue was regulation dress in the British army. By 1837 this word was being used to refer to lines and has continued in this meaning ever since. Italian uses Late Latin coda to this day. It has become the universal musical term for the "tail" end of a piece of music or a movement within one.

Dr. Goodword,

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