Mind Your P’s and Q’s

It’s trivia time again here at the Hedonist –

The aphorism mentioned in the title of this post supposedly comes from the beer world, or more specifically, that of pubs and taverns.

Taverns have always been a rowdy place, one where people have been known to get a tad bit inebriated. In order to calm down the crowd, barmen and innkeepers would shout “Mind your pints and quarts!”, under the belief that appealing to the inner accountant in all of pub goers would alert us to the fact that excessive exuberance could result in the spilling and/or wasting of precious ale. “Pints and Quarts” would, over a period of time, be shortened to “P’s and Q’s”.

This is the story that’s repeated often, but there’s precious little evidence to support this belief. There’s a story that the phrase comes from the publishing world, or as a simple phrase told to children. But as there is no proof to support any of these anecdotes, I think I’ll stick to the pub one.