Word Of The Day 3-27-2017

Queue

noun

\’kyü\

Popularity: Top 1% of lookups

Definition

  1. :  a braid of hair usually worn hanging at the back of the head

  2. 2:  a waiting line especially of persons or vehicles

  3. 3a :  a sequence of messages or jobs held in temporary storage awaiting transmission or processing  b :  a data structure that consists of a list of records such that records are added at one end and removed from the other.


Did You Know

Before it meant a line, a queue referred to the tail of a beast in medieval pictures and designs. The unusual spelling owes its origin to French, like many words that look a little odd in English. Prior to the Frenchification of queue, Latin spelled it simply as coda. The duplication of U and E often feels like waiting in line: once you think you are almost there, the queue magically seems to repeat itself.

Origin

n.

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 formof cauda) “tail,” of unknown origin. Also in literal usein 16c. English, “tail of a beast,” especially in heraldry.The Middle English metaphoric extension to “line ofdancers” (c.1500) led to extended sense of “line ofpeople, etc.” (1837). Also used 18c. in sense of “braidof hair hanging down behind” (first attested 1748).

v.

“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 Socialistrule.


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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