watch p's q's

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.

1770–80; perhaps from some children's difficulty in distinguishing the two letters Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
p's and q's
pl n
behaviour within social conventions; manners (esp in the phrase to mind one's p's and q's)
[altered from p(lea)se and (than)k-you's]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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