p's and q's

plural noun \ˌpēz-ən-ˈkyüz\

Definition of p's and q's

  1. 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. 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

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feeling or affected by lethargy

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