p's and q's

plural noun
\ ˌpēz-ᵊn-ˈkyüz How to pronounce p's and q's (audio) \

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

First Known Use of p's and q's

1779, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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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Time Traveler for p's and q's

Time Traveler

The first known use of p's and q's was in 1779

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Cite this Entry

“P's and q's.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/p%27s%20and%20q%27s. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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