Apr 1, 2009
For Miss Kitty
In a recent post Miss Kitty used the term "mind your p's and q's." She was not sure what it meant, but in true Miss Kitty style has defined it for herself. Loves her! Anyway, here is a couple of definitions I tracked down.
In a nutshell, I would say it means: pay attention to what you are doing.
"What does "mind your p's and q's" mean?
I could be mistaken. I believe it comes from the fact that lower case p and lower case q are mirror images in many fonts. Compounding the problem (when fonts were collections of individual tiny letter stamps) is the fact that the physical letter stamp is a mirror image of the printed form. This must have led to a lot of confusion and constant typographical errors. 'Mind your p's and q's' would then have an obvious meaning.
It may, also, be associated with Irish coloquial vernacular. When regular patrons of an Irish Pub would draw or pour their own beer during an evening their count or number of drinks would be tabulated on a black board in the size ( i.e. pints and quarts) and number of the drinks they consumed during their visit. And as the night drew on the bar keep would remind each to mind their tab with "mind your pints and quarts" or "mind your P's & Q's". This would really mean that they should settle their bar tab before they left the establishment. "