What is the difference between queue and enqueue given that both are verbs?

  • 1
    Enqueue (Chiefly AmE) is mostly used in the domain of computing, in contrast with dequeue.
    – Kris
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 12:07
  • 2
    Wow, thanks for the downvotes -.- Why?
    – wassup
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 15:52
  • 2
    @Kris Yes, I had checked a dictionary and still had doubts. That's why I've asked you, guys, about it.
    – wassup
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


According to this Merriam-Webster link, definition of 'Queue' as a verb is-

queue verb \ˈkyü\ : to form or wait in a line

transitive verb : to arrange or form in a queue


intransitive verb : to line up or wait in a queue —often used with up.

See below two examples of both forms of this usage of queue as a verb -

The World's Food Fair, Boston. October 1896. Admission: 25 cents. Huge crowds throng the Mechanics Hall convention center. Women queue up for free samples from 200 different vendors: cereals, gelatins, extracts, candy, and custards. —Christopher Kimball, Cook's Illustrated, January & February 2008


The crowd was queuing at the snack bar.

And now look at this definition of 'Enqueue' as a verb from the Oxford Dictionaries-


VERB (enqueues, enqueuing or enqueueing, enqueued)

[WITH OBJECT] Computing Add (an item of data awaiting processing) to a queue of such items.

While "queue" has a relatively broad usage as a verb(with reference to line up/create a line), "enqueue" is mostly used in computing(specifically- data structures).

  • 1
    So basically queue is normally intransitive, and enqueue is transitive. The only real context these days for putting something in a queue (transitive) is in computing. Your two examples before enqueue are both intransitive.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 12:10
  • Yeah you're right. Most usage of "queue" as a transitive verb is in computing, ex- he queued his queries in the relevant order. Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 12:32
  • 2
    The ole -en and en- causative/inchoative affixes are not really productive in English any more, and it's common for words with them to either take a different meaning or fall out of use against a zero-derived form. They're a pretty irregular bunch of verbs by now. Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 17:19
  • @JohnLawler Does that mean that if I say "queue this item" meaning "put it into the queue to do later" I am formally ok? Or "enqueue" is required in such context because of verb transitivity? Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 15:33
  • The environments in which enqueue might be required would be so rare and unusual that they can be ignored. If you're discussing a particular academic field, enquire about usage from its native writers. Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 17:44

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.