Meaning of “queue” in the English Dictionary

"queue" in British English

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queuenoun [ C ]

uk /kjuː/ us /kjuː/ UK US line

B1 a line of people, usually standing or in cars, waiting for something:

Are you in the queue for tickets?
There was a long queue of traffic stretching down the road.
If you want tickets you'll have to join the queue.
disapproving It makes me mad when someone jumps the queue (= goes straight to the front).

a lot of people wanting something:

There's a queue of companies wanting to sell the product.

More examples

  • Form an orderly queue.
  • There was a queue of people waiting patiently for the bus to arrive.
  • When the doors opened she barged her way to the front of the queue.
  • I was waiting in the bus queue when two men pushed in in front of me.
  • She was at the head of the queue but I was at the tail end.

queueverb [ I ]

uk /kjuː/ us /kjuː/ UK US line, US line up, also UK queue up

B2 to wait in a line of people, often to buy something:

Dozens of people were queueing up to get tickets.
We had to queue for three hours to get in.

informal to want very much to do something:

[ + to infinitive ] There are thousands of young women queueing up to be models.

More examples

  • We queued for half an hour waiting for a free space in the car park.
  • He queued for two hours and all for nothing - there were no seats left.
  • Queue here for signed copies of his book.

(Definition of “queue” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"queue" in American English

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queuenoun [ C ]

us /kju/ esp. Br

a line of people or things waiting for something:

There was a long queue for tickets at the theater.
verb [ I ] us /kju/

Fans queued up to buy tickets.

(Definition of “queue” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"queue" in Business English

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queuenoun [ C ]

uk /kjuː/ us

UK US line a line of people who are waiting for something:

There was a huge queue of people stretching down the road from the bank.

UK US line a number of people who want to do or have something:

Rarely does a company that is suffering from such mismanagement attract a queue of eager buyers.
She would not be a preferential creditor and would have to join the queue of other creditors.
be at the front/back of the queue It's public-sector workers who are always at the back of the queue when pay rises are being handed out.
be the first/last in the queue Fortunately, they were first in the queue of creditors.

IT a list of jobs that a computer has to do:

a print queue

UK COMMUNICATIONS a number of people who are waiting to speak to someone on the phone:

Please hold, you are in a queue and your call will be answered as soon as possible.
See also


uk /kjuː/ us UK US stand in line, also UK queue up

[ I ] to join a line of people who are waiting for something:

Private investors would regularly queue outside their banks in order to rush their application forms in before the deadline.

[ I ] to join a number of people who are waiting for or to do something:

Competitors queue up to steal clients and key employees.

[ T ] IT to arrange tasks in order:

The server will not allow me to queue print jobs.

(Definition of “queue” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)