mind (one's) p's and q's

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mind (one's) p's and q's

To be polite and well behaved; to mind one's manners. Be sure to mind your p's and q's when you visit your aunt this weekend! The mother reminded her young children to mind their p's and q's when they went over to their friends' houses for play dates.
See also: and, mind
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

mind one's p's and q's.

Prov. to behave properly; to display good manners. When you children go to visit Aunt Muriel, you'll have to mind your p's and q's; not like at home, where I let you do as you please. We'd better mind our p's and q's for this new teacher; I hear he's very strict.
See also: and, mind
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

mind one's p's and q's

Practice good manners, be precise and careful in one's behavior and speech, as in Their grandmother often told the children to mind their p's and q's. The origin of this expression, first recorded in 1779, is disputed. Among the more interesting theories advanced is that bartenders kept track of customers' consumption in terms of pints (p's) and quarts (q's) and the phrase referred to an honest accounting; that schoolchildren were taught to be careful in distinguishing the letters p and q; and that French dancing masters cautioned pupils about the correct performance of the figures pieds and queues (either abbreviated or mispronounced in English as p's and q's).
See also: and, mind
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

mind your p's and q's


watch your p's and q's

If you mind your p's and q's or watch your p's and q's, you try to speak and behave politely. She always minded her p's and q's in front of the queen, but their relationship wasn't that close. Note: This expression may originally have been a warning to children not to confuse p's and q's when learning the alphabet. Alternatively, `p's and q's' may stand for `pleases and thankyous', or expressions of politeness.
See also: and, mind
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

mind your Ps and Qs

be careful to behave well and avoid giving offence.
Various suggestions have been made concerning the significance of P and Q . One obvious one is that a child learning to read or write might have difficulty in distinguishing between the two tailed letters p and q . Another is that printers had to be very careful not to confuse the two letters when setting type.
See also: and, mind, ps, Qs
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

mind your ˌP’s and ˈQ’s

(informal) be careful how you behave; remember to be polite: Sally’s got very strict ideas about how her children should behave, so mind your P’s and Q’s.This expression probably refers to the P in ‘please’ and the pronunciation of ‘thank you’ which sounds like Q.
See also: and, mind
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

mind your p's and q's

Behave yourself. Opinion is divided over what the letters in the admonition to “mind your p's and q's” mean. They might have been two similar-looking letters that typesetters were warned not to confuse. They might have stood for pints and quarts that tavern keepers could have confused. Neither, however, is close to the idea of being on your best behavior, but p standing for “please” and q for “thank you” (pronounced thank-kew) does. And that's how generations of parents reminded their children to remember their manners.
See also: and, mind
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in periodicals archive ?
A typesetter had to mind his ps and qs (and bs and ds) to avoid placing the wrong letter into the composing stick."
Whether or not that's just because he's got enough nous to understand that he should at least mind his Ps and Qs when he's got a microphone under his nose, I wouldn't know.
Few details about the process have been made public as a result of stringent non-disclosure agreements put in place by the government, which led to gambling minister John Penrose admitting in a parliamentary debate last week that he had to mind his Ps and Qs about what he said.
He will have to mind his Ps and Qs (a phrase, incidentally, which originates from 19th-Century landlords keeping a tally, chalked on a slate, of the pints and quarts consumed by their customers - drinkers were wise to make sure their Ps and Qs matched what they had actually consumed) next season because any player who collects nine or more points in a two-year period cops an automatic suspension.
So he won't have to mind his Ps and Qs and can have some fun in a series that's due to air in the late (Northern Hemisphere) summer," the source added.
So he won't have to mind his Ps and Qs and can have some fun in a series that's due to air in the late summer - just before Ross quits his BBC work."
She immediately reprimanded him and told him to mind his Ps and Qs.
Clearly, being in "edukashan" he will have to mind his Ps and Qs.
Wales coach Gareth Jenkins will mind his Ps and Qs ahead of the Rome showdown with Italy.
These marks would be made on a blackboard to tell the bartender to mind his Ps and Qs.