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[kwee-ning] /ˈkwi nɪŋ/
noun, Chess.
promotion (def 6).
Origin of queening
queen + -ing1


[kween] /kwin/
a female sovereign or monarch.
the wife or consort of a king.
a woman, or something personified as a woman, that is foremost or preeminent in any respect:
a movie queen; a beauty queen; Athens, the queen of the Aegean.
  1. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a male homosexual, especially one who is flamboyantly campy or effeminate.
  2. drag queen.
a playing card bearing a picture of a queen.
Chess. the most powerful piece of either color, moved across any number of empty squares in any direction.
Entomology. a fertile female ant, bee, termite, or wasp.
a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter Q.
verb (used without object)
to reign as queen.
to behave in an imperious or pretentious manner (usually followed by it).
Chess. to become promoted to a queen.
before 900; Middle English quene, quen, Old English cwēn woman, queen; cognate with Old Saxon quān, Old Norse kvān, Gothic qēns < Germanic *kwēni-; akin to Old Irish ben, Greek gynḗ woman, Russian zhená, Sanskrit jani wife
Related forms
queenless, adjective
queenlike, adjective
underqueen, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for queening
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sibyl, queening it at some distance, had the air of conferring a favour as she listened.

    The Whirlpool George Gissing
  • Mrs. Eastman was regal in velvets, sables, and diamonds, queening it at St. Petersburg.

    Hope Mills Amanda M. Douglas
  • She rather fancied the picture of herself, clothed in more or less authority and queening it over her little army of teachers.

    The Brown Mouse Herbert Quick
  • He was at Hurst Abbey and that arrogant, imperious woman was queening it as my lady.

    A Little Girl in Old Pittsburg Amanda M. Douglas
  • Do you suppose the girl has married some rich widower and is queening it here in Washington society?

    The Heatherford Fortune Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
  • The first thing is to find out, by counting, whether the opposing King can be in time to stop the passed Pawn from queening.

    Chess Fundamentals Jos Ral Capablanca
  • I find myself still wondering how any pretty woman ever kept her mental poise when queening it at those Western posts.

    Tenting on the Plains Elizabeth B. Custer
  • Mrs. Rennie has been queening it in Riverton society for the past month.

  • This is technically called “queening a pawn,” although it does not follow that a Queen is always called for.

British Dictionary definitions for queening


a female sovereign who is the official ruler or head of state
the wife or widow of a king
a woman or a thing personified as a woman considered the best or most important of her kind: a beauty queen, the queen of ocean liners
(slang) an effeminate male homosexual
  1. the only fertile female in a colony of social insects, such as bees, ants, and termites, from the eggs of which the entire colony develops
  2. (as modifier): a queen bee
an adult female cat
one of four playing cards in a pack, one for each suit, bearing the picture of a queen
a chess piece, theoretically the most powerful piece, able to move in a straight line in any direction or diagonally, over any number of squares
(chess) to promote (a pawn) to a queen when it reaches the eighth rank
(transitive) to crown as queen
(intransitive) (informal) (of a gay man) to flaunt one's homosexuality
(intransitive) to reign as queen
(often foll by over) (informal) queen it, to behave in an overbearing manner
Word Origin
Old English cwēn; related to Old Saxon quān wife, Old Norse kvæn, Gothic qēns wife


Ellery (ˈɛlərɪ). pseudonym of Frederic Dannay (1905–82) and Manfred B. Lee (1905–71), US co-authors of detective novels featuring a sleuth also called Ellery Queen
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for queening



Old English cwen "queen, female ruler of a state, woman, wife," from Proto-Germanic *kwoeniz (cf. Old Saxon quan "wife," Old Norse kvaen, Gothic quens), ablaut variant of *kwenon (source of quean), from PIE *gwen- "woman, wife" supposedly originally "honored woman" (cf. Greek gyné "a woman, a wife;" Gaelic bean "woman;" Sanskrit janis "a woman," gná "wife of a god, a goddess;" Avestan jainish "wife;" Armenian kin "woman;" Old Church Slavonic zena, Old Prussian genna "woman;" Gothic qino "a woman, wife; qéns "a queen").

The original sense seems to have been "wife," specialized by Old English to "wife of a king." In Old Norse, still mostly of a wife generally, e.g. kvan-fang "marriage, taking of a wife," kvanlauss "unmarried, widowed," kvan-riki "the domineering of a wife." English is one of the few Indo-European languages to have a word for "queen" that is not a feminine derivative of a word for "king." The others are Scandinavian: Old Norse drottning, Danish dronning, Swedish drottning "queen," in Old Norse also "mistress," but these also are held to be ultimately from male words, e.g. Old Norse drottinn "master."

Used of chess piece from mid-15c. (as a verb in chess, in reference to a pawn that has reached the last rank, from 1789), of playing card from 1570s. Of bees from c.1600 (until late 17c., they generally were thought to be kings; cf. "Henry V," I.ii); queen bee in a figurative sense is from 1807. Meaning "male homosexual" (especially a feminine and ostentatious one) first certainly recorded 1924; probably here an alteration of quean, which is earlier in this sense. Queen Anne first used 1878 for "style characteristic of the time of Queen Anne of Great Britain and Ireland," who reigned 1702-14. Cincinnati, Ohio, has been the Queen City (of the West) since 1835.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for queening



  1. A woman, esp a wealthy and gracious one: Wouldn't it be luck if some ritzy queen fell for him! (1900+)
  2. A male homosexual, esp one who ostentatiously takes a feminine role: The queens look great strutting along the boardwalk (1924+ Homosexuals)


(also queen it) To behave in a refined and haughty way (1611+)

Related Terms

closet queen, drag queen, main queen, size queen, tearoom queen, toe-jam queen

[homosexual sense probably a late 1800s alteration of quean, ''harlot, prostitute,'' influenced by connotations of queen, ''aged, dignified, tawdry, and overadorned'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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