Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

p's and q's

play
noun plural \ˌpēz-ən-ˈkyüz\

Definition of p's and q's

  1. 1 :  something (as one's manners) that one should be mindful of <better watch his p's and q's when I get a six-gun of my own — Jean Stafford>

  2. 2 :  best behavior <being on her p's and q's for two solid days was too much — Guy McCrone>



Origin and Etymology of p's and q's

from the phrase mind one's p's and q's, alluding to the difficulty a child learning to write has in distinguishing between p and q


First Known Use: 1779


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up p's and q's? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

looking or feeling very sad

Get Word of the Day daily email!