p's and q's


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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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).
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The apostrophe (') serves three main purposes: to show that something belongs or pertains to someone (the boy's baseball, the man's red hair), to make a contraction (they're in a hurry), and, rarely, to form some plurals (mind your p's and q's).
"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." To ensure that tax executives maintain their bearings, the theme of TEI's 60th Annual Conference is The Many Masters of the Tax Department.
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.S.
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.
MIND YOUR P'S AND Q'S: London punk outfit Mouthwash playing The Parish
Kane Robinson, better known as Kano, first rose to fame with the release of his debut single P's and Q's.
Hotter-than-a-jalapeno frontman Matt Healy will be watching his p's and q's next month as mum Denise Welch joins the lads on tour in LA.