Where did mind your own beeswax originate?

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It's simply a polite way of saying, "mind your own business".


The latter sounds ungracious and even rude, while substituting beeswax for business softens the comment.
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There is an absurd story, much repeated on the internet, that 18th-century ladies used to fill in the pockmarks on their faces (this was when smallpox was a common and disfiguring disease)with beeswax, which would melt if the lady sat too near the fire. If someone else warned her about this, she would retort "mind your OWN beeswax!" This story is only mentioned to say that there isn't a shred of truth in it. Though beeswax was often (and still is) a component of cosmetics of all kinds, it was not used as a pockmark filler in this way. The beeswax saying is of 1920s origin, a garbling of "mind your own business." While it might seem harshly rude to say "mind your own business," changing the last word to "beeswax" softens the blow, and makes a jovial point of the same sentiment.
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