p's and q's

plural noun \ ˌpēz-ᵊn-ˈkyüz \

Definition of p's and q's

1 :something (such 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 :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


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to speak evil of

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