History of words and phrases
Mind your P's and Q's: Take your pick of two popular derivations. 1) It stands for "pints and quarts." The bartender would keep track of customers running a tab. 2) It comes from the early printers' trade. When setting type, it was easy to mix them up and cause a typographical error.
Speak softly and carry a big stick: The phrase is actually a West African proverb. It was made popular in 1901 when Vice President Theodore Roosevelt used it in a speech.
Caught red-handed: Seen in print as early as the 1800s, the phrase is an analogy to a murderer who is caught so soon after doing the deed, his hands are covered with blood!