Origin of 'que
Words nearby 'que
Other definitions for 'que (2 of 2)
ABOUT THIS WORD
What else does que mean?
The word que is a very common word in Spanish, Portuguese, and French. It variously acts as a type of conjunction or a pronoun meaning “that,” “who,” or “which.”
Where does que come from?
Romance languages, including French and Spanish, are all essentially modern forms of Latin. That’s why que means roughly the same thing in many of them. Que, along with the Italian che, comes from the Latin word quid, meaning “what.”
Que is a very old word in the Romance languages. It is found in print in French as early as the 9th century and, in Spanish, the 10th century.
While in French and Portuguese que doesn’t change when it is used in a question, in Spanish qué gets an accent when it’s used in a question. This qué means “what?”.
How is que used in real life?
Que is one of the most commonly used words in Spanish, Portuguese, and French. It is a multifunctional word, signifying everything from “that” and “which” to “what” or “whom.”
Que can be found in foreign expressions, notably the pseudo-Spanish phrase Que Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be), performed by Doris Day in Hitchcock’s 1956 thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much.
One Spanish construction familiar to some English speakers is Que + an adjective, (which means “How” + adjective). Que guapo! means “How handsome!,” for instance.
que preciosoooo! Namjoon, you have to see this! @BTS_twt 💜 pic.twitter.com/QEWpKIdE01
— 𝒓 𝒐 𝒙 𝒚 ⁷ (@namjoonhoney) October 8, 2018
Que also appears in the Spanish Que tal? and Que pasa? These are common greetings along the lines of “What’s up?”
Que is part of the French construction, qu’est-ce-que, a very convoluted way of saying “what.”
Note that Que. is an abbreviation for the Canadian province of Québec. The shortened ‘que sometimes refers to barbecue too.
More examples of que:
“When a salesman asks him for what he wants, for lack of English, he can’t reply; so the salesman, for lack of Spanish, takes him around from one department to another, to shirts, ties, jackets, and finally to hosiery, whereupon the customer exclaims, ¡Eso sí que es! [Yes, that’s it!]”
—Eleanor G. Cotton & John M. Sharp in Spanish Loanwords in the English Language, 1996
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
How to use 'que in a sentence
Put another way: El clavo que sobresale siempre recibe un martillazo.Sor Juana: Mexico’s Most Erotic Poet and Its Most Dangerous Nun|Katie Baker|November 8, 2014|DAILY BEAST
After visiting for a few minutes, as the women turned to leave, one of them told the twins: “Que Dios los bendiga.”With Julian Castro Taking Over at HUD, a New Political Dynasty Is in the Making|Ruben Navarrette Jr.|May 23, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Castro recalled the tender moment when he whispered, “Que Dios te bendiga,” or “May God bless you,” to his only child.Julián Castro’s Daughter, Carina Victoria, Democratic Convention Star|Maria Elena Fernandez|September 5, 2012|DAILY BEAST
The manxiety trend at its very worst.She Said: Amaury Nolasco, I have one question for you: Por que?TV Preview: Snap Judgments of 2011-2012's New Shows|Jace Lacob, Maria Elena Fernandez|June 12, 2011|DAILY BEAST
You can serve him up at a formal Sunday dinner, or in shirtsleeves at a casual summer bar-b-que.Sarah Palin's Newest Rival|Mark McKinnon|October 27, 2010|DAILY BEAST
Estimez un peu que c'est du reste du symbole et fondemens chrestiens.
Ils me respondirent que si je la voulois, ils me la donnoyent tout faict.
L'adieu et le deuil se clost par l'occision des chiens ce que le mourant ait des avants-coureurs en l'autre monde.
Ils me donnerent parolle d'ainsy faire le tout; ce neantmoins, le languissant ne nous fut apport que deux jours aprs.
Neantmoins le vieil Membertou, pere du malade, conceut asss l'affaire, et me promit qu'on s'arresteroit tout ce que j'en dirois.