Talk:mind one's ps and qs
- It's pretty common to use apostrophes to avoid ambiguity, for example a's would become as. For example for ps, there's a tendency to pronounce it as /piː.ɛs/ instead of /piːz/. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:06, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, but feel free to discuss its conclusions.
To whom it may concern, re: Mind one's P's and Q's. The real definition according to the Royal Navy. Rum rations on HMS ships are measured in pints and ale rations are measured in quarts for 1 each daily ration to ordinary seamen and other ratings and ranks. These two drinks were usually combined to make grog. Many sailors did not drink and traded their rations for food or favors to fellow sailors. Thus allowing other swabs to drink more. The more they drank the more tongues waged and usually the conversation strayed to this F'n officer or that. This caused the ships master at arms to warn drunk sailors to, "Mind your p's(pints) and q's(quarts).)
- There are many suggested origins. In the case of the Royal Navy, it's more likely that the P was a sailor’s pea coat and the Q "queue", a pigtail. The earliest usage found by the OED is " Now thou art in thy Pee and Kue, thou hast such a villanous broad backe, that I warrant th'art able to beare away any mans iestes in England" in 1602, but in early usage it meant "best behaviour". Our entry needs some minor adjustment. Dbfirs 09:07, 29 November 2014 (UTC)