- IPA(key): /ˈkjuː/, [kj̊ʉː], (rare) [cj̊uː]
- Rhymes: -uː
Audio (US) (file) Audio (UK) (file)
- Homophone: queue
The Oxford English Dictionary lists obsolete forms cu (15th century) and qu (pl. ques), que, kue, kewe (16th century), with the current form cue dating from the 16th century. Webster's Third New International Dictionary lists cue (pl. cues), kue (pl. kues) and ku (pl. kus) as current. There is also a form kew in recent use, and que continues to be used.
cue (plural cues)
- The name of the Latin-script letter Q.
- 2008, John Clark Pratt, Vietnam Voices: Perspectives on the War Years, 1941–1975, page 315:
- "My name is Quinn," said Quinn. "Cue-you-eye-en-en."
- (obsolete, UK, universities) A small portion of bread or beer; the quantity bought with a farthing or half farthing and noted with a q (for Latin quadrāns (“farthing”)) in the buttery books.
- (Latin-script letter names) letter; a, bee, cee, dee, e, ef, gee, aitch, i, jay, kay, el, em, en, o, pee, cue, ar, ess, tee, u, vee, double-u, ex, wye, zee / zed
cue (plural cues)
- An action or event that is a signal for somebody to do something.
- 2011 November 3, Chris Bevan, “Rubin Kazan 1 - 0 Tottenham”, in BBC Sport:
- This time Cudicini was left helpless when Natcho stepped up to expertly curl the ball into the top corner.
That was the cue for further pressure from the Russian side and it took further Cudicini saves to keep the score down.
- The last words of a play actor's speech, serving as an intimation for the next actor to speak; any word or words which serve to remind an actor to speak or to do something; a catchword.
- c. 1595–1596 (date written), William Shakespeare, “A Midsommer Nights Dreame”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene i]:
- When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer.
- (electronics, computing) A marker or signal that triggers something, such as the start of an audio recording.
- A hint or intimation.
- 1731 (date written, published 1745), Jonathan Swift, “Directions to Servants”, in Thomas Sheridan and John Nichols, editors, The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, […], new edition, volume XVI, London: […] J[oseph] Johnson, […], published 1801, →OCLC:
- Give them [the servants] their cue to attend in two lines as he leaves the house.
- (obsolete) Humour; temper of mind.
- To give someone a cue signal.
- Cue the cameraman, and action!
- 2012 May 27, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “New Kid On The Block” (season 4, episode 8; originally aired 11/12/1992)”, in The Onion AV Club:
- The episode also opens with an inspired bit of business for Homer, who blithely refuses to acquiesce to an elderly neighbor’s utterly reasonable request that he help make the process of selling her house easier by wearing pants when he gallivants about in front of windows, throw out his impressive collection of rotting Jack-O-Lanterns from previous Halloweens and take out his garbage, as it’s attracting wildlife (cue moose and Northern Exposure theme song).
- (by extension) To spark or provoke.
- 2016 September 28, Tom English, “Celtic 3–3 Manchester City”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name), BBC Sport:
- The teenager, as beloved a full-back as any in these parts since Danny McGrain was tearing it up, cut in, shot and saw his attempt deflected in off Sterling's boot. Cue more pandemonium.
This is often used in the imperative.
cue (plural cues)
- (sports, billiards, snooker, pool) A straight tapering stick used to hit the balls in various games.
- (obsolete) The tail; the end of a thing; especially, a tail-like twist of hair worn at the back of the head; a queue.
- 1863, Sheridan Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard:
- Fat, short, radiant, General Chattesworth—in full, artillery uniform—was there, smiling, and making little speeches to the ladies, and bowing stiffly from his hips upward—his great cue playing all the time up and down his back, and sometimes so near the ground when he stood erect and threw back his head, that Toole, seeing Juno eyeing the appendage rather viciously, thought it prudent to cut her speculations short with a smart kick.
- (sports, billiards, snooker, pool) To take aim on the cue ball with the cue and hit it.
- To form into a cue; to braid; to twist.
- ^ “cue noun (1), .”, in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1996–present: “[Definition] the letter q / [History and Etymology] Middle English cu half a farthing (spelled form of q, abbreviation for Latin quadrans quarter of an as)”.
- ^ “cū, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007: “The letter q, abbrev. for quadrans.”.
- ^ “cue noun (2) and verb (1), .”, in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1996–present: “probably from qu, abbreviation (used as a direction in actors' copies of plays) of Latin quando when”.
- “cue”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
- “cue”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- (mild exclamation)
- Terrill Schrock, On whether 'Dorobo' was a fourth Kuliak language, in Studies in African Linguistics, volume 44, number 1 (2015) (gives pronunciation: [tʃūe̥])
- Terrill Schrock, The Ik Language (2017)
- tail (of an animal)