I had a moment this weekend when I used the word “queue” in casual conversation, and I had to stop for a moment, because I had a bit of a flashback. I could remember sometime in the late ’80s or early ’90s when I had first become aware of the word, which is of English origin, probably because I was watching Doctor Who or another BBC show on PBS. At the time, I had thought it was odd that they had a different term for “line.”
Definition of queue
1: a braid of hair usually worn hanging at the back of the head
2: a waiting line especially of persons or vehicles
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
Fast forward more decades than I’d like to admit, and due to computers and services like Netflix, the word has become firmly embedded in American English as well. People in the US are just as likely to “queue up” as to “get in line,” these days – especially at theme parks. It’s such an interesting idea that technology and increased cultural inter-connectivity could morph our language so quickly. So, I figured I’d ask you, our readers, when did you all become aware of the word and start using it? Tell your story in the comments!