Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 1 decade ago

P's and Q's?

what does watch or mind your p's and Q's mene

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    To mind one's Ps and Qs is an English phrase meaning to mind one's manners, or, generally, to be careful of one's behaviour. It is sometimes written mind one's P's and Q's (though some feel that apostrophes are unnecessary in the plurals of capital letters), or mind one's p's and q's.


    There are numerous theories about the origin of the phrase. One is that it began in British pubs as an abbreviation for "mind your pints and quarts." Supposedly, this warned the bartender to serve full measure, mark the customer's tab accurately, etc.

    Another suggestion is that the phrase originated in the printing trade, at the time when printing presses used movable type set by hand. When looking at the type, all the letters are in mirror image so that they will print on paper correctly. Because the letters "p" and "q" look very similar and were stored side by side in the type cases, it was easy for a typesetter to pull a letter from the wrong slot and not notice this. When the type was removed from the press and sorted back into the type cases, mixing q's with p's was likely unless care was taken. A similar theory tells of a teacher instructing a young student to write p's and q's appropriately, as they look similar.

    Some have suggested that "mind your Ps and Qs" means "mind your 'pleases' and 'thank-yous'", with the letters "p" and "q" standing as onomatopoeic representations of the respective words.

    Still another theory hypothesizes that the term might be in some way connected to the phrase "peace and quiet."

    In 1745 Francis I purportedly demanded that his troops mind their P's and Q's. In the late 1800s the phrase gained popularity in Victorian households.

    Source(s): wikipedia
  • lix
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    It comes from the days of the old printing presses when each letter had to be set individually. The p and the q looked exactly the same (as you can see here) and were quite often set the wrong way round so it was quite common to hear the printers say 'mind your Ps and Qs'

  • 1 decade ago

    like others said it means pints and quarts. In ye olden days, pubs would record patrons' bar tabs under "p" for pints and "q" for quarts as a way to keep track of how much they owed.

    The saying originated as a way to say "don't spend too much" and "don't drink too much"

    Nowadays, it generally means watch yourself so you don't get in over your head.

  • rod85
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    To behave. According to Eric Partridge in A Dictionary of Historical Slang: “to be careful, exact, or prudent in behaviour”.

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  • 1 decade ago

    it came around a few hundred years ago. it means mind your pints and quarters. the bartenders would tell the people that is getting to drunk.

  • Meghan
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    it means to mind your manners. some people say it went back to the old days in english pubs, where they sold pints and quarts of ale (or beer, or whatever) and people were told to "mind the p's and q's"

  • 1 decade ago

    It means watch your manners.

    It stands for watch you "pints and quarts" which originated way back in the 1800's.

  • 1 decade ago

    One school of thought is that it comes from the pub, where the barkeep had to keep track of all the (p)ints and (q)uarts he sold

  • its stands for Please and thanQ

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