To be very careful to behave correctly; an alternate spelling of mind one's p's and q's; same as mind your manners


  • Uncertain; OED considers the most likely origin the distinction of the minuscule letters p and q in either the school-room or the printing-office.
  • In the early 17th century however, there is the expression pee and kew in the sense of “highest quality, best possible”. Also recorded as in thy Pee and Kue in 1602.

When we go to visit, do remember to mind your ps and qs, children - we don't want another incident like last time.

Submitted on July 07, 2010

Modified by TriplePurple on December 29, 2023


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l'esprit son ps et qs

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