What's the proper term to use if you want to talk about trying to move up in the lineup or switch up?

  • "Cut the queue" would be most natural to my BrE ear. – badroit Jan 31 '14 at 17:25
  • AmE-speakers say "butt in line" and "cut in line" for the same action - to step in front of someone else in line, instead of joining the line at the end. For butt vs. bud, "Butt in" is the expression, not "bud in". – Kristina Lopez Jan 31 '14 at 18:01
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    @badroit: I think your BrE ear has been corrupted by exposure to AmE. Statistically speaking, jump the queue is far more common on both sides of the pond, but you'll note that cut does actually plot on the AmE corpus in that link. It totally flatlines if you switch to the BrE corpus - I'd say because it's basically a relatively rare AmE variant. – FumbleFingers Jan 31 '14 at 19:09
  • @FumbleFingers, interesting! Jump the queue also sounds natural to me (though it didn't occur to me at first). – badroit Jan 31 '14 at 19:31
  • badroit, "cut the queue" is not exactly common in BrE. I had not heard of it until now. – Tristan r Jan 31 '14 at 23:06

As badroit notes, queue is more common in British Engish whereas line is more common in American English in non-technical settings.

A queue-jumper cuts in line, in which cut may be interpreted as the sense of trimming or dividing depending on whom you ask; Merriam-Webster lists this sense as a separate meaning:

cut: intransitive verb 5. to advance by skipping or bypassing another. cut to the front of the line

To butt in is to intrude. In queueing cultures, cutting in line would be rather rude, and could be described as butting in into line, especially if one is literally physically butting, i.e. thrusting or pushing headfirst.

Bud in is probably an eggcorn for butt in.

  • Note that bud in and butt in are pronounced nearly exactly the same in AmE. – Peter Shor Jan 31 '14 at 17:47
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    And butt in line is an idiom in AmE; it almost never means physically butting; that would probably be called shoving or pushing. – Peter Shor Jan 31 '14 at 18:09
  • I don't hear butt in line very often (maybe we're too polite in Washington? hah), but weirdly, I see budge in line appearing all over the place. Yay internetz. – choster Jan 31 '14 at 18:13
  • I grew up in Washington DC and heard it all the time at school there. Maybe they use a different word now, or maybe you don't hang around enough elementary schools. – Peter Shor Jan 31 '14 at 18:15
  • Jump the line is a common US usage. – bib Jan 31 '14 at 18:31

I'm here because I just heard Rainn Wilson say "butt in line" in the movie Super. I grew up in New England and I'd literally never heard that phrase before. We say "cut in line" and have said so since I was growing up in the 60s. Usually, you just say "Hey! No cutting!"

SO, who grew up in New Jersey, says it was always "cut" there as well.


I’m from Upstate New York and we would always say ‘no budging’.

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