one-person queue


Hi, everyone:

Orderly queuing -- as seen during the recent Northern Rock banking crisis -- is seen as a quintessentially British convention. One social anthropologist believes Britons are even capable of forming one-person queues at bus stops.

Could you tell me the meaning of "one-person queue"?

Best wishes
  • Trisia

    Senior Member
    Did you look in the dictionary at the word "queue," Hly?

    A queue is essentially a line of people waiting for something (in an orderly fashion :D). Saying that the British people can even form one-person queues is a tongue-in-cheek manner of saying that they're patient and calm.

    Thomas Tompion

    Member Emeritus
    English - England
    It's certainly a joke. It suggests, perhaps, that even one person waiting will be careful where they stand, so that they are not in the way of other hypothetical people. I don't think it extends to not doing irritating things like whistling 'God save the Queen' loudly.

    Thomas Tompion

    Member Emeritus
    English - England
    Hi, Trisia
    In fact, I don't really know the meaning of "one-person".
    The whole context is here:


    A queue is an orderly line of people waiting their turn for something, typically at the check-in at an airport, or for a bus, or at a counter in a shop. A one-person queue is a queue consisting of only one person - rather an extraordinary idea, because there's no question of whose turn it might be. That's the point of the joke.