The date of the coinage of 'mind your Ps and Qs' is uncertain. There is a citation from Thomas Dekker's play, The Untrussing of the Humorous Poet , , which appears to be the earliest use of the expression:. Hide my shoulders in't. It is also not clear that the 'Pee and Kue' in Dekker's work are the same as those in 'mind one's Ps and Qs'. Dekker later used the term in West-ward Hoe , a joint work with John Webster, In that piece it is less apparent that 'p.
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So, both the spelling and meaning of the phrase are debatable. Now we come to what is really uncertain - the derivation. Nevertheless, it is one of those phrases that many people are sure they know the origin of. When such folk are pressed, what they usually mean is that the person they first heard explain the origin had made a random choice from the list of proposed derivations below. As no one knows the origin I'll just list the suggestions - 'mind your Ps and Qs' probably derives from one of these:.
derivation - Wiktionary
Mind your pints and quarts. This is suggested as deriving from the practice of chalking up a tally of drinks in English pubs on the slate.
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Brimming with ideas for crochet patterns? The guests arrive and Jonathan has brought his ouija board. An angry spirit replies and suddenly a vase explodes!
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It seems Jonathan ruined and saved the night! But who can be mad at him? Ah, yes — panache! A courageous military leader with a love for the finer things, he wore a white plume on his helmet and was famed for his war cry: Some cultures possess social dynamics and worldviews incompatible with Western culture, and their ways of life are on the brink of extinction. From your point of view, what would give their languages the best chance of survival? For example, no one should expect cannibalism to take place in the 21st century. Similarly, nobody has the moral right to recommend someone not to use available electricity or not to watch available films.
That is obviously not to say that one ought to become Coca-Colonized and corporatized, discarding their beautiful heritage languages. Languages are beautiful when they are spoken by real people. I love Yiddish for its funny psycho-ostensive expressions. I love Hungarian for its word for scissors, which serendipitously looks like scissors: I love Israeli, my mother tongue, for its Arabic curses. He talked to Babbel about strategies for linguistic revitalization and the political issues surrounding linguistic change and preservation.
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The meaning and origin of the expression: Mind your Ps and Qs
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