Queue - Word of the Week

Definition - Queue Definition: Queue

Noun: A line of waiting people or vehicles (Pronounced "kew")

Plural: queues.  Verb: to queue ("He queued for movie tickets"), ("At 5pm, we'll need to queue to get good seats.")

Example:

"When the new iPhone was released, there was a long queue outside the Apple store of people waiting to buy one."

Students coming to our English School in London, Covent Garden are often surprised by how much time British people spend waiting in line.  A common joke is that standing in line is an English national hobby. George Mikes, the Hungarian writer, once said,

"An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one."

Queuing is one of the customs in England that you'll come to know well if you study at one of our English schools in London. You'll find that the English are very good at standing in queues - they almost never push in, get impatient, or argue with each other.

Origin

What's interesting about the word "queue" is where it comes from.  It's a word borrowed straight from French, and the French word queue originally comes from the Latin word cōda, which you might know if you studied music. Cōda means "tail", and this is the original meaning of the word "queue".

In the middle of the 18th century, a "queue" was a plaited pony-tail hairstyle, like in the picture below.  They were so popular that they were required in the British army - a rule which lasted 100 years.

Queue Hairstyle
Image courtesy of LEO™

So a "queue" literally means a "tail", although now we almost always think of it as a line of people.

There's a lot more to England than just standing in a line.  Why not check out our English language schools in England and see if you'd like to pay one of them a visit?

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