Definition of queue in US English:



  • 1British A line or sequence of people or vehicles awaiting their turn to be attended to or to proceed.

    • ‘They are at present in a long queue awaiting full examination.’
    • ‘Upon the group's return a queue of vehicles had lined up to go across the river.’
    • ‘Vehicles previously stuck in queues past the A2 junction suddenly speed up and try to get the best position as three lanes expand to eight for the toll booths.’
    • ‘Given its location there should be a queue of developers awaiting the chance to purchase this valuable site.’
    • ‘When there are deadlines, we tend to wait until the last moment, after which we line up in endless queues, swearing, as if someone has forced us to wait to the last day.’
    • ‘This is the time of year when motorists, going about their lawful business, are likely to find themselves at the back of huge queues of vehicles.’
    • ‘At the height of the season all you are likely to see will be the slow moving queue awaiting entrance to the museum.’
    • ‘The publication of each new volume prompts fevered speculation on the story line and late-night queues of children outside bookshops.’
    • ‘At the American supermarket I learnt that we must join the line, not the queue.’
    • ‘As queues of people lined up in a typical British orderly fashion, traffic on the North Circular began to build up, with punters travelling from as far as Birmingham to get their hands on a cheap deal.’
    • ‘The young woman, a child clinging to each hand, urged those in the momentous queue lining the River Thames to pay her respects to the late Queen Mother on her behalf.’
    • ‘The queue of asylum-seekers awaiting decisions on their applications is twice as long as previously claimed, it was revealed yesterday.’
    • ‘In its final throes the decaying rock is whittled down into curious rounded shapes standing in a line, like a queue of shrouded figures.’
    • ‘Yet we have already seen long queues of vehicles outside York petrol stations as people wait to fill up the tank.’
    • ‘Our first encounter with the festival was the enormous queue of people who lined up to enter.’
    • ‘By the time we reached Roman Road, only half a mile as the crow flies from our starting point, the bus was jam-packed full and sailing past the waiting queues.’
    • ‘The long queues outside principals' offices in many township schools made it difficult for the schools to concentrate on teaching as the teachers had to attend to the queues.’
    • ‘No queues of mourners lined the halls to say a final farewell to the man hailed as the workers' hero as his body lay in state at the House of Parliament yesterday.’
    • ‘A team of around 30 health board personnel were on site offering the treatment and there were long queues as people awaited treatment.’
    • ‘So every morning people had to line up in a queue for their turn.’
    line, row, column, file, chain, string, stream
    traffic jam, jam, tailback, line, stream, gridlock
    View synonyms
  • 2Computing
    A list of data items, commands, etc., stored so as to be retrievable in a definite order, usually the order of insertion.

    • ‘When packets are dropped this way, a new entry is stored in a special queue of unresolved addresses.’
    • ‘Once the depth of the queue is reached, the storage of each new address in the queue causes a previously stored address to be output from the queue.’
    • ‘Real-time FIFOs are queues that can be read from and written to by Linux processes.’
    • ‘The wait queue is a list of processes blocking on the semaphore.’
    • ‘Instead, it services the I / O request at the head of the FIFO queue, plus a couple extra for good measure.’
    • ‘However, from time to time in the short term, the aggregate queues can become congested, as traffic and QoS are shuffled within the network.’
    • ‘A bitmap indicates which queues are not empty, and the individual queues are FIFO lists.’
    • ‘To remedy the situation, I wrote a web script which bypasses the email queue and places greetings from Readers directly into my Inbox.’
    • ‘Database logs and indexes are huge I / O bottlenecks, as are mail server queues.’
    • ‘Queuing only optimizes command re-ordering if a queue of requests is built up in the drive.’
    • ‘If there are no independent commands in the queue at all, the FPU unit will be idling for 5 clocks.’
    • ‘The Replay queue unloading controller releases the commands for both queues hoping that they will be executed successfully.’
    • ‘It simply means the Ethernet driver had free descriptors in its queue and has accepted our data for transmission.’
    • ‘The scripts, which control the call flow, will queue the call to a list of queues at the same time.’
    • ‘The at and batch commands put jobs into the at queue.’
    • ‘One or more application tasks then read messages from the queue to consume the delivered data.’
    • ‘As soon as the BSY bit is cleared, the host can issue another queued command to the drive, allowing a queue of commands to be built in the drive.’
    • ‘The Call Presentation section in the skillset configuration dialog allows you to specify the order in which calls are serviced in the queue.’
    • ‘In addition to solving this problem, Linux 2.4 queues will be more robust and scale better to multiple processors.’
    • ‘As long as you are connected to the Internet, Click-N-Run downloads packages until your queue is empty again.’
  • 3archaic A braid of hair worn at the back.

    • ‘His long, shoulder length hair tied in a queue, he walked toward the small stable where his horse was waiting.’
    • ‘His long, braided queue of glossy black hair bobbed lazily back and forth from shoulder to shoulder.’
    • ‘The woman had a hard-nosed look to her, sporting a warrior's queue of green hair.’
    • ‘Chinese men were forced to braid their long hair into a queue or ‘pigtail’.’
    • ‘For tonight, he had tied back his hair in a tidy queue, and his eyes seemed especially bright from his sapphire-colored tunic.’


[no object]
  • 1British Take one's place in a queue.

    ‘in the war they had queued for food’
    • ‘Now residents who once wanted to leave the estate are queuing up to buy their newly-renovated council homes.’
    • ‘Now TV stations around the world are queuing up to buy the series.’
    • ‘Literary agents are queuing up to sign on young writers from such courses, she says.’
    • ‘Sponsors, so we were assured, would be queuing up for a piece of the action.’
    • ‘Pupils of Melksham schools and their parents have been queuing up for extra lessons on Saturday mornings.’
    • ‘It will be a venue of legends and the big names are queuing up to appear.’
    • ‘Shoppers in Manchester are queuing up for anti-ageing treatment being offered in pioneer trial by Boots.’
    • ‘Developers are already queuing up to buy sites, although it is several years before a start can be made here.’
    • ‘Still volunteers are queuing up for hours to help, but unless they have expertise their help is now not needed.’
    • ‘Prisoners are queuing up to get a place on the course, not least because it means they can spend a whole day with their partner.’
    • ‘At the same time, credit card companies and hire purchase outfits are queuing up to let us spend money we don't have yet.’
    • ‘It would seem that they are queuing up to buy into the Premiership.’
    • ‘We need more skilled craftsmen, and yet there are young people queuing up for apprenticeships who simply cannot get them.’
    • ‘Academics, meanwhile, have been queuing up to back fiscal autonomy.’
    • ‘He is convinced Esso won't have to wait long before potential recruits are queuing up for an interview.’
    • ‘And let's not pretend these fans are queuing up to see a classic boxing match.’
    • ‘Residents of Kendal are queuing up for a glimpse of a giant reticulated python.’
    • ‘Pupils are now queuing up try out the two sets of safety glasses, more commonly used in science lessons.’
    • ‘Sutton residents are queuing up in their hundreds for affordable homes, according to new figures.’
    • ‘Counsellors and trauma experts are queuing up to offer assistance to the Russian town of Beslan.’
    line up, stand in a queue, form a queue, queue up, wait in line, form a line, form lines, get into columns, get into rows, fall in, file, move in line, walk in line
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1queue up Be extremely keen to do or have something.
      ‘companies are queuing up to move to the bay’
  • 2Computing
    with object Arrange in a queue.

    • ‘LP is telling you that LPD is not running on the local server, which it must connect to in order to queue the request for the remote printer.’
    • ‘When a command is given to the hard drive, the device needs to determine if this command is to be queued or processed right away.’
    • ‘When data is ready, that thread/dæmon wakes up and queues the received data for use by the consuming application threads or processes.’
    • ‘Bulk uploads that can be submitted will be queued for processing and once this issue has been resolved, will resume flowing through the system.’
    • ‘A key contributor to the stability and the speed of postfix is the intelligent way in which it queues mail.’
    • ‘This is used when a script which is controlling the call has finished executing and has not yet queued the call for any skillsets.’
    • ‘If not, it will be queued in the computer to which the printer is attached.’
    • ‘All write operations are queued to the secondary device, or the journal device, which may be disk or tape.’
    • ‘The inability to queue units and the lack of unit formations are inexcusable omissions.’
    • ‘Once turned on, programs are queued up for commercial scanning after the end of the show.’
    • ‘Once the type of sales function has been determined, the call will be queued to the appropriate skillsets.’
    • ‘The service routine looks up the protocol type inside the received frame and queues it appropriately for later processing.’
    • ‘A print server can rip, store and queue hundreds of megabytes of print jobs without slowing down the network.’
    • ‘All up, most of the time you'll queue some actions and leave the movement to the AI.’
    • ‘Once you create the worker thread, you can queue work in a fashion similar to how work is queued with the default worker thread.’
    • ‘The chip includes hyperthreading, which allows a processor to queue up one software thread while processing a different one.’
    • ‘The scripts, which control the call flow, will queue the call to a list of queues at the same time.’
    • ‘Before combat, several actions can be queued for each character, to be carried out when activated.’
    • ‘Two clicks on Magnatune queues a never-ending selection of our music in the genre of your choice.’
    • ‘The call blocks until events are ready and then returns all available events once any event is queued.’


Late 16th century (as a heraldic term denoting the tail of an animal): from French, based on Latin cauda ‘tail’. Compare with cue. queue (sense 1 of the noun) dates from the mid 19th century.