Where Did the Phrase ‘Mind Your P’s and Q’s’ Come From?
When we were young my parents - and a few teachers - would remind us to "Mind your P’s and Q’s." I found myself using that phrase on my kids last week. When they asked me what it meant, I replied, "Well, um... it means to mind your own business." I really didn't know where it came from. What does the "P" mean and why is it paired with a "Q?"
I had to find out.
So, where does the term, “Mind your P’s and Q’s” come from?
According to HeartlandBrewery.com, it turns out that In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts… So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them ‘Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down.’ It’s where we get the phrase ‘mind your P’s and Q’s’
Another possible origin to the phrase could be the overconsumption of alcohol. The innkeeper would keep track of how many pints and quarts were consumed by a patron and reminded them to be mindful of how much they were drinking. This may also have been turned around on the bartender who traditionally kept a chalk slate on the wall to keep track of the pints and quarts served as proof to the owner of the inn. He was also reminded to watch his P's and Q's.
I kind of wish there had been an innkeeper like this at Borrowed Bucks back in the day.
Let's just say that in the future I won't be using the old "mind your beeswax" anytime soon because I really don't know how that came about either.