Mind your own business

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"Mind your own business" is a common English saying which asks for a respect of other people's privacy. It can mean that a person should stop meddling in what does not concern that person, etc. Its initialism is MYOB.


Most modern theologians don't believe that the phrase "Mind your own business" is of direct biblical derivation,[citation needed], though something similar appears in the where St. Paul tells the church of Thessaloniki about this manner of living in his instructions as a way of Christian life (I Thessalonians 4:11). The Greek phrase is πράσσειν τὰ ἴδια which translates as "manage yourself".[1]

20th century[edit]

In the 1930s, a slang version rendered the saying as "Mind your own beeswax". It is meant to soften the force of the retort.[2] Folk etymology has it that this idiom was used in the colonial period when women would sit by the fireplace making wax candles together,[3] though there are many other theories.[4]

In the classic science fiction story "...And Then There Were None", author Eric Frank Russell shortened "mind your own business" to "MYOB" or "Myob!", which was used as a form of civil disobedience on the planet of the libertarian Gands.[5] Russell's short story was subsequently incorporated into his 1962 novel The Great Explosion.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NIV". biblegateway.com. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  2. ^ Palmatier, Robert Allen (1995). Speaking of Animals: A Dictionary of Animal Metaphors. Greenwood Press. pp. Google Books Search, p.23. ISBN 0-313-29490-9. 
  3. ^ Idiomsite.com, Beeswax
  4. ^ Worldwidewords.org
  5. ^ Abelard.org

External links[edit]

  • Idiomsite.com, Origins of common sayings - Beeswax
  • Abelard.org, And Then There Were None (relevant excerpt of The Great Explosion)