1 in phr make one’s manners: To perform conventional rituals of courtesy or respect. formerly widespread, now chiefly Sth1824 Cooper Pilot 239, The ship is to be so cluttered with she-cattle [=women], that a man will be obligated to spend half his time in making his manners! 1849 Knickerbocker 34.276 MA, He never noticed us, except to reprove us when we failed to ‘make our manners to him.’ 1857 Goodrich Recollections 1.127 CT, All children were regularly taught at school to “make their manners” to strangers; the boys to bow and the girls to courtesy. 1859 (1968) Bartlett Americanisms 261, To make one’s manners. To make a bow or salute, on meeting a friend or stranger. The term is applied only to children. Formerly, in New England, the custom was universal among juveniles. 1922 Gonzales Black Border 209 sSC, GA coasts [Gullah],Git up, gal, ent you hab sense ‘nuf fuh mek yo’ mannus. 1929 AmSp 5.121 ME, Elders would say: . . “Keep a civil tongue in your head,” “mind (or make) your manners.” 1939 Griswold Sea Is. Lady 131 csSC 1865 [Gullah], You blin’, ‘oman?—make you’ mannuh! 1942 (1971) Campbell Cloud-Walking 45 seKY, He just give the blackberries to them and made his manners and went off down the mountain towards his homeplace. 1962 Faulkner Reivers 77 MS, Then Ned went off with Ephum and I made my manners to Miss Ballenbaugh. 1968 DARE File SC, Make your manners [means] to perform the necessary courtesies. It is an old expression used by a mother or grandmother to admonish a child. 1991 King Needful Things 416 ME, Ole Harry Samuels said you ast if I’d stop by this mornin if I had a chance. . . I’m just makin my manners to you, sir.
2 in phrr in a manner (or rarely in the manner of): Nearly, almost; to some extent. [OED manner sb.1 10 c1420 →] chiefly S Midl1822 (1972) Deane New Engl. Farmer 134, But let farmers beware of building their log fences of bass wood . . ; for as they will be soon rotten, the labour of building them is in a manner lost. 1834 Smith Letters Jack Downing 151 ME, The President’s got in a manner cooled down again. 1894 in 1941 Warfel–Orians Local-Color Stories 738 sAR, I don’t see it . . less’n me a puttin’ ‘im out’n de house in a manner aggervated ‘im ter it. 1913 Kephart Highlanders 225 sAppalachians, Ike Morgan Pringle’s a-been horse-throwed down the clift, and he’s in a manner stone dead. 1952 Brown NC Folkl. 1.563, Manner, in a. . . Almost, after a fashion, not quite satisfactorily. 1953 Randolph–Wilson Down in Holler 170 Ozarks, The phrase in a manner. . . seems to mean nearly, virtually, or almost. “Them biscuit is in a manner done,” a housewife said, “an’ we’ll have ’em on the table in a minute.” c1960 Wilson Coll. csKY, In a manner. . . Nearly, almost. “I’m in a manner through stripping tobacco.” 1974 Fink Mountain Speech 13 wNC, eTN, In a manner . . nearly. “He’s in a manner blind.” 1982 Barrick Coll. csPA, Manner—to an extent or degree. “This table is in the manner of new.”
3 In ref to the custom of leaving a small amount of food at meals as a gesture of politeness:a pl; also manners piece; for addit varr see quot 1965–70: Such a piece of food. [EDD to leave some manners in the dish, manners-bit (at manner sb.1 1.(6), 2)] chiefly S Midl, Gulf States, TX See Map Cf old maid 4 1950 WELS (Words for the last piece of something on a plate) 2 Infs, WI, Manners piece. 1965–70 DARE (Qu. H71, . . The last piece of food left on a plate) 31 Infs, chiefly Sth, S Midl, Manners piece; 23 Infs, chiefly S Midl, Gulf States, TX, Manners; AR38, She’s left manners; CA101, MI95, Manners and all (is gone); GA24, 46, Don’t eat (the) manners; KY62, You took manners; LA40, I’ll take manners; MS1, When you leave it, you are saving manners; MS72, Manners is left; SC7, Manner piece; AL34,They ate ill manners; DC7, Good manners; GA79, Table manners. 1980 Hand Coll. LA, You “take the manners” if you take the last food from a dish. b personified, in phrr leave something for Miss (or Mr.) Manners and varr: To leave such a piece of food.[1859 Elwyn Glossary 73 NEng, “Leave some for manners,” was always enjoined on us, as school-boys, and was always practiced by all, old and young.] 1968 DARE (Qu. H71, . . The last piece of food left on a plate) Inf CT8, You “leave something for Miss Manners”; CT16, Left for Mr. Manners; NY48, Leave it for Mr. Manners; WI62, Leave a piece for Little Miss Manners; [CA136, One left for Manners, and I’m him; IL103, KY15, NY237, (That’s or piece) left for manners; KY41, MS98, Leave that (or something on your plate) for manners].