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qui vive

[kee veev] /ki ˈviv/
noun
1.
(italics) French. who goes there?
Idioms
2.
on the qui vive, on the alert; watchful:
Special guards were on the qui vive for trespassers.
Origin
1720-1730
1720-30; < French literally, (long) live who? (i.e., on whose side are you?)
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for qui vive

qui vive

/ˌkiː ˈviːv/
noun
1.
on the qui vive, on the alert; attentive
Word Origin
C18: from French, literally: long live who?, sentry's challenge (equivalent to "To whose party do you belong?" or "Whose side do you support?")
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for qui vive

1726, in on the qui vive "on the alert," from French qui voulez-vous qui vive? sentinel's challenge, "whom do you wish to live," literally "(long) live who?" In other words, "whose side are you on?" (The answer might be Vive la France, Vive le roi, etc.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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