p's and q's

p's and q's
P p


    • US Pronunciation
    • US IPA
    • US Pronunciation
    • US IPA

Definitions of p's and q's words

  • noun p's and q's manners; behavior; conduct (usually preceded by mind or watch): The children were told to mind their p's and q's. 1
  • noun plural p's and q's behaviour within social conventions; manners (esp in the phrase to mind one's p's and q's) 0

Information block about the term

Origin of p's and q's

First appearance:

before 1770
One of the 46% newest English words
First recorded in 1770-80; perhaps from some children's difficulty in distinguishing the two letters

Historical Comparancy

Parts of speech for P's and q's


p's and q's popularity

A pretty common term. Usually people know it’s meaning, but prefer to use a more spread out synonym. About 31% of English native speakers know the meaning and use word.
According to our data about 72% of words is more used. This is a rare but used term. It occurs in the pages of specialized literature and in the speech of educated people.

Synonyms for p's and q's

noun p's and q's

  • concordat — a pact or treaty, esp one between the Vatican and another state concerning the interests of religion in that state
  • conventionalism — advocacy of or conformity to that which is established
  • formalism — strict adherence to, or observance of, prescribed or traditional forms, as in music, poetry, and art.
  • formality — condition or quality of being formal; accordance with required or traditional rules, procedures, etc.; conventionality.
  • good behavior — satisfactory, proper, or polite conduct.

See also

Matching words

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