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To whom it may concern, re: Mind one's P's and Q's. The real definition according to the Royal Navy. Rum rations on HMS ships are measured in pints and ale rations are measured in quarts for 1 each daily ration to ordinary seamen and other ratings and ranks. These two drinks were usually combined to make grog. Many sailors did not drink and traded their rations for food or favors to fellow sailors. Thus allowing other swabs to drink more. The more they drank the more tongues waged and usually the conversation strayed to this F'n officer or that. This caused the ships master at arms to warn drunk sailors to, "Mind your p's(pints) and q's(quarts).)
- There are many suggested origins. In the case of the Royal Navy, it's more likely that the P was a sailor’s pea coat and the Q "queue", a pigtail. The earliest usage found by the OED is " Now thou art in thy Pee and Kue, thou hast such a villanous broad backe, that I warrant th'art able to beare away any mans iestes in England" in 1602, but in early usage it meant "best behaviour". Our entry needs some minor adjustment. Dbfirs 09:07, 29 November 2014 (UTC)