p's and q's


Also found in: Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

p's and q's

pl.n.
1. Socially correct behavior; manners.
2. The way one acts; conduct: was told to watch his p's and q's.

p's and q's

pl n
(Sociology) behaviour within social conventions; manners (esp in the phrase to mind one's p's and q's)
[altered from p(lea)se and (than)k-you's]

p's and q's


n.pl. Idiom.
mind or watch one's p's and q's, to pay careful attention to one's own behavior or affairs; be cautious or discreet.
[1770–80; perhaps from some children's difficulty in distinguishing the two letters]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:

p's and q's

noun
Socially correct behavior:
decorum, etiquette, good form, manner (used in plural), mores, propriety (also used in plural).
References in periodicals archive ?
He will have to mind his P's and Q's (a phrase, incidentally, which originates from the practice of 19thcentury alehouses-keepers keeping a tally, chalked on a slate, of the pints and quarts consumed by their customers - drinkers were wise to keep an eye out to make sure their P's and Q's 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.
The notion that American youths aren't minding their p's and q's is continuously debated in editorial pages across the nation.
As a result of a sea change in the tax profession during the past three years," TEI President Mike Boyle observed, "CEOs and CFOs expect tax departments to mind many more p's and q's, especially as they navigate the unchartered waters of SOX.
But so as not to take ourselves too seriously in this liturgy issue, Mary Margaret Carberry gives us some stern encouragement to mind our p's and q's at Mass in this month's Sounding Board ("Mind your manners, Massgoers," pages 18-22), and a healthy number of U.
THE real Gareth Thomas minded his p's and q's during a live link-up from his French home to BBC Wales' Sports Personality of the Year this week.
Considering the recent testimony of Condoleezza Rice before the 9/11 commission, we have to ask if we've perhaps forgotten our P's and Q's.