RE: query about US English usage

Subject: RE: query about US English usage
From: Jennifer Maitland <jlm -at- kwi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2002 17:48:10 +0100

Hmmmm, your question seems to be more oriented towards whether your audience
will understand the word/usage, and my guess is that quite a few won't, and
the ones that do will wonder why you didn't just say "waiting in line". As a
Canadian I am used to "waiting in a line-up", and the terms "queue" and
"queuing" were unfamiliar to me before moving to the UK. Queuing is a very
common word used in the UK. Here is what I found at

queue Pronunciation Key (ky)
A line of waiting people or vehicles.
A long braid of hair worn hanging down the back of the neck; a pigtail.
Computer Science.
A sequence of stored data or programs awaiting processing.
A data structure from which the first item that can be retrieved is the one
stored earliest.

intr.v. queued, queu·ing, queues
To get in line: queue up at the box office.

[French, from Old French cue, tail, from Latin cauda, cda.]
Word History: When the British stand in queues (as they have been doing at
least since 1837, when this meaning of the word is first recorded in
English), they may not realize they form a tail. The French word queue from
which the English word is borrowed is a descendant of Latin cda, meaning
"tail." French queue appeared in 1748 in English, referring to a plait of
hair hanging down the back of the neck. By 1802 wearing a queue was a
regulation in the British army, but by the mid-19th century queues had
disappeared along with cocked hats. Latin cda is also the source of Italian
coda, which was adopted into English as a musical term (like so many other
English musical terms that come from Italian). A coda is thus literally the
"tail end" of a movement or composition.

Jennifer Maitland

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