queue (n.)
late 15c., "band attached to a letter with seals dangling on the free end," from French queue "a tail," from Old French cue, coe "tail" (12c., also "penis"), from Latin coda (dialectal variant or alternative form of cauda) "tail," of unknown origin. Also in literal use in 16c. English, "tail of a beast," especially in heraldry. The Middle English metaphoric extension to "line of dancers" (c.1500) led to extended sense of "line of people, etc." (1837). Also used 18c. in sense of "braid of hair hanging down behind" (first attested 1748).
queue (v.)
"to stand in a line," 1893, from queue (n.). Earlier "put hair up in a braid" (1777). Related: Queued; queueing. Churchill is said to have coined Queuetopia (1950), to describe Britain under Labour or Socialist rule.
queueing (n.)
"act or fact of standing in line," 1918, verbal noun from queue (v.).
"Queueing" had really become an equivalent for sport with some working-class women. It afforded an occasion and an opportunity for gossip. ["The War of Food in Britain," in "The Congregationalist and Advance," April 25, 1918]
quey (n.)
"young cow," Scottish and Northern English dialect, late 14c., from Old Norse kviga, apparently from ku "cow" (see cow (n.)).
qui vive
1726, in on the qui vive "on the alert," from French qui voulez-vous qui vive? sentinel's challenge, "whom do you wish to live," literally "(long) live who?" In other words, "whose side are you on?" (The answer might be Vive la France, Vive le roi, etc.).
quib (n.)
evasion of a point, 1540s, from Latin quibus "by what (things)?," dative or ablative plural of quid "in what respect? to what extent?; how? why?," neuter of relative pronoun quis (see who). "[A]s a word of frequent occurrence in legal documents ... hence associated with the 'quirks and quillets' of the law." [OED]. Also compare quibble.
quibble (n.)
1610s, "a pun, a play on words," probably a diminutive of obsolete quib "evasion of point at issue," based on an overuse of Latin quibus? in legal jargon, which supposedly gave it the association with trivial argument. Meaning "equivocation, evasion of the point" is attested from 1660s.
quibble (v.)
"equivocate, evade the point, turn from the point in question or the plain truth," 1650s, from quibble (n.). Earlier "to pun" (1620s). Related: Quibbled; quibbling.
quiche (n.)
1949, from French quiche (1810), from Alsatian German Küche, diminutive of German Kuchen "cake" (see cake (n.)). Became fashionable 1970s; became contemptible 1980s.
quick (adj.)
Old English cwic "living, alive, animate," and figuratively, of mental qualities, "rapid, ready," from Proto-Germanic *kwikwaz (cognates: Old Saxon and Old Frisian quik, Old Norse kvikr "living, alive," Dutch kwik "lively, bright, sprightly," Old High German quec "lively," German keck "bold"), from PIE root *gweie- (1) "to live" (see bio-). Sense of "lively, swift" developed by late 12c., on notion of "full of life."
NE swift or the now more common fast may apply to rapid motion of any duration, while in quick (in accordance with its original sense of 'live, lively') there is a notion of 'sudden' or 'soon over.' We speak of a fast horse or runner in a race, a quick starter but not a quick horse. A somewhat similar feeling may distinguish NHG schnell and rasch or it may be more a matter of local preference. [Buck]
Of persons, "mentally active," from late 15c. Also in Middle English used of soft soils, gravel pits, etc. where the ground is shifting and yielding (mid-14c., compare quicksand). As an adverb from c.1300. To be quick about something is from 1937. Quick buck is from 1946, American English. Quick-change artist (1886) originally was an actor expert in playing different roles in the same performance of a show. Quick-witted is from 1520s.
quick (n.)
"living persons," Old English cwic, from quick (adj.); frequently paired with the dead, as in Old English cwicum & deadum. The quick "tender part of the flesh" (under a nail, etc.) is from 1520s, as is the figurative use of it.
quick-march (n.)
1752, from quick (adj.) + march (n.1).
quick-step (n.)
1802, from quick (adj.) + step (n.). From 1906 as a verb. Related: quick-stepped; quick-stepping.
quicken (v.)
c.1300, "come to life; give life to," from quick (adj.) + -en (1). Meaning "become faster" is from 1805. Related: Quickened; quickening. An earlier verb was simply quick (c.1200), from Old English gecwician.
quickie (n.)
"sex act done hastily," 1940, from quick (adj.) + -ie. As "alcoholic drink meant to be taken hurriedly," from 1941 (quick one in this sense from 1928). From 1926 as "motion picture made in a short time."
quicklime (n.)
late 14c., from quick (adj.) "living" + lime (n.1). A loan-translation of Latin calx viva. So called perhaps for being unquenched, or for the vigorousness of its qualities; compare Old English cwicfyr "sulfur."
quickly (adv.)
late Old English cwiculice "vigorously, keenly;" see quick (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "rapidly, in a short space of time" is from c.1200.
quickness (n.)
c.1200, "state of being alive," from quick (adj.) + -ness. Early 15c. as "alacrity;" mid-15c. as "readiness of perception."
quicksand (n.)
c.1300, from Middle English quyk "living" (see quick (adj.)) + sond "sand" (see sand (n.)). Old English had cwecesund, but this might have meant "lively strait of water."
quickset (adj.)
"formed of living plants," 1530s, from quick (adj.) + set (v.).
quicksilver (n.)
Old English cwicseolfor, literally "living silver," translating Latin argentum vivum (source also of Italian argento vivo), literally "living silver;" so called from its liquid mobility. See quick (adj.) + silver (n.). Similar formation in Dutch kwikzilver, Old High German quecsilbar, German quecksilber, French vif-argent, Italian argenta viva.
quid (n.1)
"bite-sized piece" (of tobacco, etc.), 1727, dialectal variant of Middle English cudde, from Old English cudu, cwidu (see cud).
quid (n.2)
"one pound sterling," 1680s, British slang, possibly from quid "that which is, essence," (c.1600, see quiddity), as used in quid pro quo (q.v.), or directly from Latin quid "what, something, anything." Compare French quibus, noted in Barrêre's dictionary of French argot (1889) for "money, cash," said to be short for quibus fiunt omnia.
quid pro quo
1560s, from Latin, literally "something for something, one thing for another," from nominative and ablative neuter singulars of relative pronoun qui "who" (see who) + pro "for" (see pro-) + quo, ablative of quid.
quiddity (n.)
"a trifling nicety in argument, a quibble," 1530s, from Medieval Latin quidditas "the essence of things," in Scholastic philosophy, "that which distinguishes a thing from other things," literally "whatness," from Latin quid "what," neuter of indefinite pronoun quis "somebody, someone or other" (see who). Sense developed from scholastic disputes over the nature of things. Original classical meaning "real essence or nature of a thing" is attested in English from late 14c.
quidnunc (n.)
"gossip-monger," 1709, formed from Latin quid "what?" (neuter of interrogative pronoun quis "who?;" see who) and nunc "now" (see now), to describe someone forever asking "What's the news?"
quiesce (v.)
1821, from Latin quiescere (see quiescent).
quiescence (n.)
1630s, from Latin quiescentia, from quiescere (see quiescent).
quiescent (adj.)
c.1600, from Latin quiescentem (nominative quiescens), present participle of quiescere, inchoative verb formed from quies "rest, quiet" (see quiet (n.)).
quiet (adj.)
late 14c., "peaceable, at rest, restful, tranquil," from Old French quiet and directly from Latin quietus "calm, at rest, free from exertion," from quies (genitive quietis) "rest" (see quiet (n.)). As an adverb from 1570s. Related: Quietly; quietness.
quiet (n.)
c.1300, "freedom from disturbance or conflict; calm, stillness," from Old French quiete "rest, repose, tranquility" and directly from Latin quies (genitive quietis) "a lying still, rest, repose, peace," from PIE root *kweie- (2) "to rest, be quiet" (cognates: Old Persian shiyati-, Avestan shaiti- "well-being;" Avestan shyata- "happy;" Gothic hveila, Old English hwil "space of time;" see while (n.)). Late 14c. as "inactivity, rest, repose."
quiet (v.)
late 14c., "subdue, lessen," from quiet (adj.) and in part from Latin quietare. From mid-15c. as "to make silent, cause to be quiet;" intransitive sense of "become quiet, be silent" is from 1791. Related: Quieted; quieting.
quieten (v.)
1828, "to make quiet;" 1890, "to become quiet," from quiet (adj.) + -en (1).
quietism (n.)
1680s, from Italian quietismo, literally "passiveness," from quieto "calm, at rest," from Latin quietus (see quiet (adj.)). Originally in reference to the mysticism of Miguel Molinos (1640-1697), Spanish priest in Rome, whose "Guida spirituale" was published 1675 and condemned by the Inquisition in 1685. Related: Quietist.
quietude (n.)
1590s, from Middle French quiétude (c.1500) or directly from Late Latin quietudo, from Latin quietus (see quiet (n.)).
quietus (n.)
"discharge, clearing of accounts," 1530s, short for Medieval Latin phrase quietus est "he is quit" (see quit). Hence, "death" (i.e. "final discharge"), c.1600. Latin quies also was used for "the peace of death."
quiff (n.)
"curl or lock of hair over the forehead," 1890, originally a style among soldiers, of unknown origin. Perhaps connected with quiff "a puff or whiff of tobacco smoke" (1831, originally Southern U.S.), held to be a variant of whiff (n.).
quill (n.)
c.1400, "piece of reed or hollow stem of a feather," probably related to Middle High German kil "quill," from Low German quiele, of unknown origin. Meaning "pen made from a (goose) quill" is from 1550s; that of "porcupine spine" is from c.1600.
quillet (n.)
"a quibble," obsolete, "prob. a corruption of L. quidlibet 'what you please'" [Klein].
quilt (n.)
c.1300, "mattress with soft lining," from Anglo-French quilte, Old French cuilte, coute "quilt, mattress" (12c.), from Latin culcita "mattress, bolster," of unknown origin. Sense of "thick outer bed covering" is first recorded 1590s.
quilt (v.)
1550s, from quilt (n.). Related: Quilted; quilting. Quilting bee attested from 1824 (see bee).
quilter (n.)
late 13c. (late 12c. as a surname); agent noun from quilt (v.).
quim (n.)
slang for "female genitalia, vulva, vagina," 1735, perhaps 1610s, of unknown origin. Coarse and disparaging use for "females collectively" is from 1935.
quin (n.)
1935, short for quintuplet, one of five.
quinary (adj.)
c.1600, from Latin quinarius "consisting of five, containing five," from quint "five each" (see five).
quince (n.)
early 14c., plural of quoyn, from Old French cooin (Modern French coing), from Vulgar Latin codoneum, from Latin cotoneum malum "quince fruit," probably a variant of cydonium malum, from Greek kydonion malon "apple of Kydonia" (modern Khania), ancient seaport city in Crete.

The plant is native to Persia, Anatolia, and Greece; the Greeks imported grafts for their native plants from a superior strain in Crete, hence the name. Kodu- also was the Lydian name for the fruit. Italian cotogno, German Quitte, etc. all are ultimately from the Greek word.
quincunx (n.)
1640s, originally astrological, of planetary alignments, from Latin, literally "five twelfths" (especially "five unciae," that is, "five-twelfths of an as," the basic unit of Roman currency), from quinque "five" (see quinque-) + uncia "ounce; a twelfth part (of anything)," related to unus "one" (see one). Applied, especially in garden design, to arrangements like the five pips on a playing card (1660s). Related: Quincuncial.
quinella (n.)
form of betting in which the bettor picks the first and second horses in a given race, 1942, American English, from American Spanish quiniela, originally a ball game with five players, from Latin quini "five each," from quinque "five" (see quinque-). The sense evolution in Spanish was said to be from the game to a wager on the scores of the players, hence "any wager against the house."
quinine (n.)
alkaloid responsible for curative properties in the cinchona tree, 1821, from French quinine (1820), with chemical ending -ine (2) + Spanish quina "cinchona bark" (from which it is extracted), from Quechua (Peru) kina. Earlier in reduplicated form quinaquina (1727).
quinoa (n.)
1620s, from Spanish spelling of Quechua kinua.