All my life I’ve waited “in line”. And boy are my legs tired. But seriously folks, do you wait “in line” or “on line”. I know you Brits “queue up”, but that’s another thread. I’m in the southern U.S. and here we wait “in line.” Not sure if it’s a regional difference though.
I’m not talking about the kind of “on line” you need to be to be reading this, by the way. Unless you are reading this on a laptop while you’re waiting in/on line.
If you mean something like “Where have you been?! I’ve been waiting on you for half an hour!” then we say that in New England too, sometimes. Having spent very little time in NY, I’ve never heard anyone say “on line” instead of “in line” though.
In New York, you wait in a line formation, but the verb to do so is to wait “on line”. It’s more a state of being than an action. As in, “Are you on this line (…or just standing around aimlessly while other people are getting their orders in, you shmuck)?”
Frequently there are multiple lines going on, so changing lines is to “get off” of one line and “get on” another line. It wouldn’t make much sense to say you’ve gotten “out” of one line to get “in” another, as you’re always “in” a line; you’ve just changed the one you’re “on”.
“Waiting on you” is definitely not a (native) New Yorkism, as I never heard it until about 5 years ago around here. It’s definitely caught on though, to my dismay. I think it’s originally a Southern thing.
Wha? You’re not ‘on’ a crowd or ‘on’ an audience or ‘on’ any other group of people so being ‘on’ a line of people makes little sense - no matter how many there are. You could, I suppose, be standing on the yellow line in a parking lot or on the line on the road and then you’d be ‘on’ a line but otherwise it’s just a figure of speech.
:dubious: Of course it’s a figure of speach. “Figure of speach” is a figure of speach. What’s wrong with that?
I grew up next door to NYC (till I moved there) and it seems to me I’ve stood in and on lines, both. (I’ve also queued.) I have a sense of a certain subtle difference between in and on but I can’t put my finger on it. On seems less depressing somehow.