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Posted: 11/21/2002 2:49:16 PM EDT
I want to know what P stands for and what Q stands for. Any help is appreciated.
Link Posted: 11/21/2002 2:52:49 PM EDT
Whoa, thats a good one, I just realized I didnt know that.
Link Posted: 11/21/2002 2:54:11 PM EDT
mind your pints and quarts....has to do with keeping track of rum rations for British sailors of old
Link Posted: 11/21/2002 2:55:12 PM EDT
In polite company you have to watch what you say, be careful to use the right tone and turn of phrase and not to offend. 'Mind your Ps and Qs', your mum would say! As with many phrases of our oral tradition the exact origin is not clear but there are some very believable theories, one or all of which, may be true. The first is that it derives from the phrase prime quality meaning the finest or best. As an abbreviation of this, mind your p's and q's would mean to be thorough in your work so as to ensure high quality. The second is that it refers to the difficulty children had in learning to distinguish between the letters p and q. Governesses and tutors would use the phrase 'mind one's p's and q's and this extended its meaning to be careful of your language and behaviour. Similarly, the phrase could refer to printers minding their p’s and q’s when setting the type. The third suggestion is that it comes from a way of keeping a tally of customers' drinks in pubs and taverns. Marks under columns (p, for pint, or q, for quart), would be made on a blackboard. Both drinker and bartender had to 'mind their ps & qs', the first to make sure he was not paying for another's drinks and the latter to make sure all drinks were paid for. The next and perhaps most popular theory is that it is a shortened form of 'mind your pleases and thank yous'. My favourite, is the story that the origin is in the expression 'mind your toupees and your queues'. The toupee being false hair and the queue being a pigtail, to maintain one's hairdo one had to behave in a dignified manner! source: [url]http://www.lovatts.com.au/WEB_section/trivia/Triv_wher_28.htm[/url]
Link Posted: 11/21/2002 2:58:10 PM EDT
The phrase dates to the late 18th century--at least 1779. The exact origin is unknown, but several competing hypotheses seem to be the most likely. The first is that it derives from the phrase p and q which was an abbreviation for prime quality. This English dialectical term dates to the 17th century. So to mind your p's and q's would mean to be exacting in detail and ensure high quality. The second is that it refers to difficulty children had in learning to distinguish between the letters p and q, being mirror images of one another. To learn one's p's and q's is a phrase meaning to learn one's letters is first recorded around 1830--somewhat later but not impossible as the origin. Often this explanation is identified with printers and distinguish between a p and a q in type, but the early use exclusively deals with children, not printing. The third, first suggested by Farmer and Henley at the turn of the 20th century, is that the phrase comes from the practice of maintaining a tally in pubs and taverns. Marks under column p, for pint, or q, for quart, would be made on a blackboard. To mind them would be to watch to ensure that the bartender did not misattribute someone else's drinks to your tab or to mark a pint as a quart. Another commonly suggested explanation is that it is a variation on mind your pleases and thank yous, a plea for gentility and manners. There is no evidence to support this, nor does the please and thank you phrase appear anywhere except in explanations of the Ps and Qs origin. The last is from the world of printing. Typesetters had to be skilled in reading letters backward, as the blocks of type would have mirror images of the letters. The lower-case letters p and q were particularly difficult to distinguish because they are mirrors of one another. Typesetters had to be particularly careful not to confuse the two. Which is the correct one is anybody's guess (except the third which is certainly false). I favor the second explanation, but that is just a personal preference.
Link Posted: 11/21/2002 3:00:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/21/2002 3:02:58 PM EDT by Northern_Winter]
I heard it was a British Beer Hall Warning: Mind you Pints and Quarts, as in don't get plastered you nimrod. No Joke. - Nw - Edited to ad: Don't you hate it when you respond to a message and by the time your done, 3 other poeple have said the same thing? Guess it can't helped sometimes.
Link Posted: 11/21/2002 3:46:05 PM EDT
Since I am a Swabbie I'll go with the "official" US Navy Nautical Trivia definition: Naval Traditions, Customs, & Etiquette [url]http://www.cpf.navy.mil/cpffacts/customs.htm[/url] Mind Your P's & Q's There are few of us who at one time or another have not been admonished to "mind our P's and Q's," or in other words, to behave our best. Oddly enough, "mind your P's and Q's" had nautical beginnings as a method of keeping books on the waterfront. In the days of sail when Sailors were paid a pittance, seamen drank their ale in taverns whose keepers were willing to extend credit until payday. Since many salts were illiterate, keepers kept a talley of pints and quarts consumed by each Sailor on a chalkboard behind the bar. Next to each person's name, a mark was made under "P" for pint or "Q" for quart whenever a seaman ordered another draught. On payday, each seaman was liable for each mark next to his name, so he was forced to "mind his P's and Q's" or he would get into financial trouble. To ensure an accurate count by unscrupulous keepers, Sailors had to keep their wits and remain somewhat sober. Sobriety usually ensured good behavior, hence the meaning of "mind your P's and Q's." And on a related subject: "To Be Three Sheets in the Wind" In the days of sailing ships, this is a phrase which refers to the lines used to control the sails of sailing vessels. When these sheets are cast to the wind (let go), it would cause the old sailing ships to shudder and stagger. The resulting track would be the same as that of a drunken Sailor, out of control, and hence "three sheets in the wind."
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