To be very careful to behave correctly.

Etymology:

  • 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.
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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

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l'esprit son ps et qs

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