Main definitions of cue in English

: cue1cue2

cue1

noun

  • 1A thing said or done that serves as a signal to an actor or other performer to enter or to begin their speech or performance:

    ‘she had not yet been given her cue to come out on to the dais’
    • ‘Both technical aspects were designed effectively, although unfortunately on this opening night both sound and lighting had missed cues and glitches.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, on the field, Stacy waited for her cue to begin singing.’
    • ‘Alcohol may serve as a cue, making certain behaviors more accessible and likely.’
    • ‘Safety cues or performance references must be stated positively if you expect your class to improve their skills and continue attending.’
    • ‘There is a generous amount of sound cues but no speech in any form, since the developers have elected to remove things like unit acknowledgement.’
    • ‘This fosters a kind of sensitivity toward the body language of the actors and the musical cues in the narrative.’
    • ‘Children don't understand many of the common cues in a live performance.’
    • ‘The colors and moods combine with the actors' performances and haunting musical cues to create a slightly surreal atmosphere.’
    • ‘During a performance, musical cues and sung instructions are given by the leaders, requiring constant attention from the others.’
    • ‘The actors flurry about backstage, hissing, thumping and gesticulating wildly between cues.’
    • ‘Having the orchestra play straight through these groups of cues keeps their performance really sharp and also saves time overall.’
    • ‘My next show had two light cues and no sound cues.’
    • ‘The girl takes a cue and begins dancing, keeping almost perfect beat to the tune.’
    • ‘Actors miss their cues, the dubbing is just out of synch, the sound effects are too loud and don't match up with the action on-screen.’
    • ‘He looked toward the door and cleared his throat obnoxiously, as if someone had missed his or her cue to enter.’
    • ‘We already had had disasters with actors losing their cue when their partner skipped a line, or having black outs with no one on stage able to cut in.’
    • ‘Time passes slowly as the cast expend most of their energy on dodgy accents, very little on the performances and none at all on picking up cues.’
    • ‘He needs a more subtle way of looking for his musical cues from the monitor at the front of the stage.’
    • ‘Everyone else seems to be waiting for an offstage cue before they perform, as if unsure of what to do or say next.’
    • ‘The Mayor, not heeding his cue, began his speech early and failed to mention the conference and exhibition sponsors.’
    signal, sign, indication, prompt, reminder, prompting
    nod, word
    hint, suggestion, intimation
    high sign
    zeitgeber
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A signal for action:
      ‘his success was the cue for the rest of Fleet Street to forge ahead’
      • ‘The digit served as a cue to make a guess in the probability-guessing task.’
      • ‘As if this was the cue to begin, all four started to transform.’
      • ‘This served as the cue for sections of the media north of the border to lament the fact that a similar progressive outlook did not exist in this country.’
      • ‘The trend snowballed with many industries taking the cue and entering this market as they found it difficult to revive their industries due to various reasons.’
      • ‘This was my cue to begin a slow approach with the camera, all the time being eyed warily by the triggerfish.’
      • ‘The plan should list peak flow meter readings or specific symptoms that will serve as your cue to go to the ER.’
      • ‘It was the cue for many of the home fans to depart.’
      • ‘If that sounds painfully scary, you could just say you'll e-mail him later, which is an obvious cue for him to offer up his address.’
      • ‘This was the cue for a hold up which lasted around five minutes as players, mentors and fans pleaded with the referee to reverse his decision.’
      • ‘Then, taking their obvious cue, they began to brawl.’
      • ‘The act of the secondary observer writing down an observation when the primary observer has not indicated a detection can serve as a cue to the primary observer.’
      • ‘Two wires served to deliver electrical cues - one each to the brain cells associated with the rats left and right whiskers, respectively.’
      • ‘The primary care physician's emotional response to a patient can serve as an early cue to pursue a somatization diagnosis.’
      • ‘A handwritten tick appears above the word death, but the report has no number inserted in it, in spite of the obvious cue to enter a number in the specified space.’
      • ‘Be advised that each species responds to specific environmental cues to begin migration and may take flight ahead of schedule.’
      • ‘This was the cue for the home team to get their act together and they did.’
      • ‘And in this smart pub, where a Glaswegian salad is the order of the day, that's the cue for another round of reminiscing.’
      • ‘That was the cue for Paul, who has been criticised at times this season, to take centre stage, and he answered those critics in no uncertain terms.’
      • ‘Instead, it was the cue for England's forwards to take charge.’
      • ‘Clinic visits may serve as important cues to action that serve as a basis for behavior change.’
    2. 1.2 A circumstance or piece of information which aids the memory in retrieving details not recalled spontaneously.
      • ‘Developing such cognitive networks provides more cues for recall and makes the connections more stable and durable over time, making them easier to remember.’
      • ‘However, we provided no cues during recall in the experiments in the present study.’
      • ‘These kinds of cues are generally effective when a free recall test - a memory search without cues - starts to come up empty.’
      • ‘The context acts as a cue to retrieve the memory of events that occurred in its presence.’
      • ‘The use of empirically based cues to mistaken memories was similar for both inaccurate and accurate judges.’
      • ‘Of course, the pictures also provided additional cues for recall.’
      • ‘Any cinema studies student will be able to go into great detail about all the cues put into cinema to make us understand that something not actually represented is going on.’
      • ‘This not only identifies what is considered high in fiber but provides a cue to aid in recall.’
      • ‘He admitted defeat and asked the usher if she'd seen Cecelia, offering the turquoise turban as a cue to memory.’
      • ‘Variety maximises the number of retrieval cues for recall of information.’
      • ‘Religious ideas and practices will not form part of social identification in the absence of cues and memories.’
      • ‘Another experiment examined uncertainty about memory rather than sensory cues.’
      • ‘The boxes were removed from sight because previous research has shown that location acts as a cue to memory.’
      • ‘In the absence of explicit retrieval cues, pair recall will be facilitated by factors that promote unitization of each pair.’
      • ‘In this study, the use of language specific retrieval cues did not yield language-specific recall.’
      • ‘Retrieval cues do not bring about a complete memory of some events because most of the event was not encoded.’
      • ‘The prospective memory cues occurred in 12 trials out of the total 112 trials.’
      • ‘In fact, in some cases corroborative evidence serves as the retrieval cue for the repressed memory.’
      • ‘The results of this study also demonstrate that gestures can be external retrieval cues for a memory event.’
      • ‘You lose glasses and keys either because your brain never encoded an event or piece of information or because a cue devised to trigger your memory failed.’
    3. 1.3Psychology A feature of something perceived that is used in the brain's interpretation of the perception:
      ‘expectancy is communicated both by auditory and visual cues’
      • ‘Because of this selectivity, the nurses pay less attention to irrelevant cues and use fewer information cues overall.’
      • ‘In waking life, the best that we can do is interpret overt cues and then attempt to understand a person's intentions and predict their actions, for which dreams offer such a venue.’
      • ‘Clothing and decoration provide important cues to aid interpersonal and intrapersonal communication.’
      • ‘But very sensitive hearing is necessary to hear all the acoustic cues in speech sounds.’
      • ‘Lacking auditory and visual cues, the e-mail message or newsgroup post can be productively ambiguous in tone.’
    4. 1.4 A hint or indication about how to behave in particular circumstances:
      ‘my teacher joked about such attitudes and I followed her cue’
      • ‘Was it a case of a people merely following the cues of their leader?’
      • ‘But didn't go any further until he had taken some cue from her that it was okay.’
      • ‘Consequently, these characteristics may serve as cues that are used by respondents to guide their interactions with survey interviewers.’
      • ‘He needed always to be on the lookout for subtle cues indicating how his mother would behave.’
      • ‘We were the ones who did not know the protocols - but followed the few cues.’
      • ‘The experimenter effect is a term used to describe any of a number of subtle cues or signals from an experimenter that affect the performance or response of subjects in the experiment.’
  • 2[mass noun] A facility for playing through an audio or video recording very rapidly until a desired starting point is reached.

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Give a cue to or for:

    ‘Ros and Guil, cued by Hamlet, also bow deeply’
    • ‘It cues our hate to keep us watching, like a bullfighter taunting a bull: waving red to draw our attention and anger.’
    • ‘Ok I embellish but that's my interpretation when she cues the violins.’
    • ‘Unity was the message; cue loud applause from almost the entire room.’
    • ‘The musicians sit scattered at both ends of the stage, warming up for an improv exercise in which they cue dancers to stop dancing by quickly interrupting their movement with music.’
    • ‘A group of teenagers have taken it upon themselves to cue a new snooker hall for the people of the town.’
    • ‘Like laugh tracks, they cue our emotional responses, but they also disguise their coerciveness by making us feel included.’
    • ‘When cued by the end of a song or solo, the room would erupt into enthusiastic applause and ‘woos,’ not to mention the standing ovations that brought both concerts to an end.’
    • ‘Some lines in his movies sound as if they were written to cue his reactions, and they are the more memorable for that.’
    • ‘As the game shifts in tone from the humorous to the dark and back again, this production feels compelled to cue the audience with an almost comic earnestness.’
    • ‘In the earlier days, I wanted the music to cue you almost like a curtain.’
    • ‘A slicker actor would have cued revulsion in children, but here the icky inevitability of movie clinches had been thwarted.’
    • ‘So, not content with reducing my audience to laughter with my first attempt, I cued the musicians to start over.’
    • ‘Note the telling musical score, anticipating events, cueing the audience as to when to be scared, assuming we cannot figure that out ourselves.’
    • ‘So it cues you that something's around and you try and contain that.’
    • ‘Our vast inside sources cued us in about this extraordinary gentleman.’
    • ‘On set, instead of saying ‘Action’, he cued his actors by firing a gun.’
    • ‘But when he goes down to the valley, it's the same two sentences in Spanish, and then they cue the mariachis.’
    • ‘A tinny soundtrack is used to cue the arrival of dramatic tension - a job that is better left to performers.’
    • ‘The cast is great, but everything is so cued, signed, and anticipated that the movie makes me sick at times.’
    • ‘He won't speak to the press unless an overture of fanned notes cues him.’
    1. 1.1 Act as a prompt or reminder:
      ‘have a list of needs and questions on paper to cue you’
      • ‘Make your reminder cues both informative and obvious.’
      • ‘If I forget a line, they're not going to cue me, you know?’
      • ‘This may include cueing or prompting, questioning, modeling, telling, or discussing.’
      • ‘For recall to be the measure that most appropriately captures the process of shopping and product choice, shoppers would remember the brand name without being cued or reminded.’
      • ‘I can be cued back through patient prompting, but it takes me a while, and it might not last.’
  • 2Set a piece of audio or video equipment in readiness to play (a particular part of the recorded material):

    ‘there was a pause while she cued up the next tape’
    • ‘Because recorded motion can be cued and played back live, the puppeteer can layer a performance, as one would produce a multitrack audio recording.’
    • ‘He fixes my ‘broken’ tape recorder and cues it faster than I can write this sentence.’
    • ‘If you own the tape, its probably cued up to this piece.’
    • ‘I think that's a good goal to shoot for, but I don't necessarily agree that everything has to be cued up in one master list to achieve it.’
    • ‘Full screen graphics can be cued in and cued up by using two buttons.’
    • ‘He seemed to have been having difficulty taking out our track and cueing the next set of music and it caused tremendous problems for us because the band was going in fits and starts.’
    • ‘A manager who has to train distant new hires can directly present the orientation session using the video/audio streaming feed, cueing slides showing detailed information and taking questions from the audience in real time.’
    • ‘The director called for the clip, but, oops, it wasn't cued.’
    • ‘The risers are rolled in; lights are fixed, sound is cued and video monitors are put in place.’
    • ‘Actually controlling the quality of the audio and getting it cued up is the responsibility of the studio manager, effectively a sound engineer, who prepares audio clips for broadcast.’
    • ‘To listen to a storm, cue up this DVD and give the volume knob a sharp, clockwise twist.’
    • ‘See, this is what they try and teach you in school, but kids know it already if they're on their decks, cueing records up and learning to count them in.’
    • ‘Instead of having to cue up a tape and set up the mix I could just listen.’
    • ‘Streaming-music sites cue up an amazing playlist of songs, a variety of features and plenty of customer stickiness for advertisers.’
    • ‘Since many of the program's participants had never played a record, let alone cued one up, they began by first explaining how a record makes sound on a turntable and then showing them how to handle and cue it.’
    • ‘I suppose we are meant to include the guy who cues her vocal track as part of the band.’
    • ‘When I stick it in the drive again an hour or even a year later, it cues it back up to where I left off.’
    • ‘The snickering stopped when I realized - cue melodramatic organ music - that the creepy kid was me.’
    • ‘The tape with the self-righteous denunciations has been taken off the reel while the new tape, full of self-righteous media navel-gazing, is cued up.’
    • ‘Press the same button again to put the camera shot back on, and then you would press a button next to it to cue up the next graphic.’

Phrases

  • on cue

    • At the correct moment:

      ‘right on cue the door opened’
      • ‘On cue, the creature began running towards her, sword drawn and red eyes frighteningly wild.’
      • ‘Barely had he collapsed when two others rushed to his aid, sweeping him into an ambulance that sped forward on cue from a side street.’
      • ‘On cue, Ashby entered with a cart possessing several trays from which delicious aromas rose.’
      • ‘At that very moment as if on cue, somewhere in the distance a wolf let out a menacing howl.’
      • ‘Right on cue, fish began to show, and the water suddenly came alive.’
      • ‘They ate in silence, and they appeared to finish their food together, as if on cue.’
      • ‘TV coaches can teach a candidate how to smile on cue and even how to feign sincerity.’
      • ‘The pages turn right on cue and the pictures are evocative enough that the story tells itself just by listening.’
      • ‘As if on cue, a door on the far side of the room opened, and a voice called.’
      • ‘As if right on cue, the door to the parlor opened just then and another servant, a young man, entered.’
  • take one's cue from

    • Follow the example or advice of:

      ‘McGee did not move and Julia took her cue from him’
      • ‘Everyone else in the cast takes their cue from and builds off this edge.’
      • ‘As with the overall design of the house, details take their cues from the barn.’
      • ‘He takes his cue from what they are doing, and I stand in awe of how often he is correct in forecasting what they will do.’
      • ‘I took a cue from her and began serving the customers' breakfast.’
      • ‘Until then try to take your cues from how he behaves both publicly and privately, and don't be afraid to ask questions!’
      • ‘If I understand it aright, objective calculation and measurement take their cue from - and ultimately serve - circumspective involvement in the world.’
      • ‘Yeah, and most people don't take their cue from that.’
      • ‘These influences pale in significance however, when compared to the massive list of performers who took their cues from him.’
      • ‘In the 1960s and 70s we took our cue from what was happening worldwide.’
      • ‘The conductor of the symphony orchestra does not control the activity of the players, but they do follow the score and take their cue from the conductor's directions.’

Origin

Mid 16th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation:

cue

/kjuː/

Main definitions of cue in English

: cue1cue2

cue2

noun

  • A long straight tapering wooden rod for striking the ball in snooker, billiards, etc.

    • ‘If I strike a billiard ball with a cue stick, I effect a transfer of [physical] energy.’
    • ‘A quick nudge of the cue and the 4 ball was in, center pocket.’
    • ‘This game is more than just a game of balls and pockets and cues.’
    • ‘When the cue hits the object ball it will bend the tangent line back away from the corner.’
    • ‘Shoot straight at the object ball, striking the cue ball one cue tip below center.’
    • ‘Other items include a snooker cue signed by top stars, an England under 21s signed match ball and Bath rugby shirts and balls signed by players.’
    • ‘He just grabbed his cue and began lining up his shot, looking incredibly sullen.’
    • ‘Also banned from cabins is sporting equipment such as cricket bats, tennis racquets, golf clubs and snooker cues.’
    • ‘Following centuries of Billiards dominated by England and France, during the 19th century a third country became obsessed with the sport of cues and balls.’
    • ‘Prizes for winners and runners-up are new snooker cues.’
    • ‘Unlike, say, a tennis racket or cricket bat, a snooker cue is thought irreplaceable by its owner.’
    • ‘The usual effects can be heard such as the cue hitting the ball and such.’
    • ‘Every time I screw my cue together, my goal is to be a better player when I unscrew it.’
    • ‘England was resistant to this change for some reason - the cue was available in billiard rooms by 1734, but did not gain real popularity until around 1800.’
    • ‘Perhaps his vanity had caused him to only use a snooker cue chalk once and then throw it away.’
    • ‘Bend forward into a shooting position and see if you feel you can sight straight down your cue.’
    • ‘Pool is supposed to be an easy starting point for cue sports.’
    • ‘One man suffered penknife stab wounds to his back and another was hit around the head with a snooker cue.’
    • ‘At one stage he went out armed with a snooker cue, but went back inside.’
    • ‘It got worse when, attempting to summon a waiter for more wine, I mistakenly outbid everyone in the raffle for a snooker cue signed by innumerable world champions.’

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • Use a cue to strike the ball:

    ‘Mark cued well early on’
    • ‘‘I missed a few easy balls today but I am cueing brilliantly,’ he said.’
    • ‘But I started cueing well and Alan couldn't put me away,’ he said.’
    • ‘I am cueing well, but every now and then I make an unbelievable howler.’
    • ‘The Welshman just about deserved to edge ahead after cueing so well in the early stages of the match, although his game dipped after the interval.’
    • ‘And the three times Regal Masters champion was soon cueing superbly.’
    • ‘‘Stephen deserved to win it - he was cueing beautifully and produced his best form when it mattered,’ said the six-times champion.’
    • ‘It gives me time get back to the way I was cueing before Sheffield.’

Origin

Mid 18th century (denoting a long plait or pigtail): variant of queue.

Pronunciation:

cue

/kjuː/