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What does 'Mind your p's and q's' mean?

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"Mind your P's and Q's" means "mind your behavior" - "be on your best behavior" - "mind your manners" in modern parlance.

The Origin of P and Q:
In old England the pubs served their beer and ale in pints and quarts. As there was no legal limit or anything like that, the men in the pubs often got rowdy, belligerent, or started fights. The 'bar tender' would often have to shout over the chaos, "SIT DOWN! MIND YOUR PINTS AND QUARTS AND BE QUIET!" or something along those lines. Minding the pints and quarts meant don't slosh them around and spill them. This came down to us as a reprimand for rowdy behavior:
It relates back to the age of little 12 year olds become printing apprentices. So when they used to set up the letters on the press it would be very hard to identify the p's from the q's. That's were the quote mind your p's and q's came from. Now what it means is that you should not worry about knowing the difference between p's and q's. So just mind your business
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 colloquial 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.
An alternate meaning for this idiom, and the one most commonly accepted as historical fact, dates back to the Olde English Pubs of yester-year. In order to remind the patrons of how much Ale or Mead they had drunk as the night progressed, the bartender would write on a chalk board (or the like) each (P)int and (Q)uart that had been consumed by each patron. It allowed said patrons to keep up with their tab, and prevented disagreements from happening between bar and patron. The term is actually correctly stated as "'Mind' your p's and q's." In this instance it is considered a warning to not get too drunk to pay your tab. Likewise in today's parlance it is a warning to pay attention to anything in general.
Look in Wikipedia too to help you decide which explanation is correct. (see related link below)
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