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Lexical Leavings

by Tom Gally



I've always considered the word "queue" to be British and most dictionaries mark it as such, but in recent years I've noticed it being used increasingly in American English as well. A few examples:
American Airlines Inc. also has added screening monitors with three new ones at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. "We've added security checkpoints in some places, but what we've been focusing on are these express lines," said American spokesman Marty Hires. American's express queues are for first- and business-class passengers at security checkpoints. (The Dallas Morning News, April 5, 2002)

After a 2 1/2-year legal battle with the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, Taco Bell Corp. has agreed to make queue lines and countertops "wheelchair friendly'' at all 40 of the chain's company-owned Colorado restaurants. (Denver Rocky Mountain News, March 2, 2000)

On April 15, procrastinators unite. Across the land, they queue up at the post office. They idle bumper to bumper, awaiting their turn at the mailbox. And this year, more Americans than ever are also hitting the "enter'' key on their computers. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, April 16, 2002)
The influx of Americanisms into British English is often noted in the U.K., but this is the only recent example that I've noticed of the opposite phenomenon. Are there others?
(February 10, 2003)