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qui vive

[kee veev] /ki ˈviv/
(italics) French. who goes there?
on the qui vive, on the alert; watchful:
Special guards were on the qui vive for trespassers.
Origin of qui vive
1720-30; < French literally, (long) live who? (i.e., on whose side are you?) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for qui-vive
Historical Examples
  • I feel very much on the qui-vive, as I haven't seen that particular part before.

    Letters to Helen Keith Henderson
  • The people were on the qui-vive and I often had to give up my investigation without marked results.

    Crimes of Charity Konrad Bercovici
  • She stands four mortal hours at the entrance of the drawing-room, all the while on the qui-vive.

    Woman and Artist Max O'Rell
  • At the same instant something moved in the fields to the left, and a shrill voice called: "qui-vive?"

    Lorraine Robert W. Chambers
  • Paris would not be Paris if it did not keep us on the qui-vive.

    The Sunny Side of Diplomatic Life, 1875-1912 Lillie DeHegermann-Lindencrone
  • He remembered the general character of the river from his former descent, but he had to be on the qui-vive as to details.

    A Canyon Voyage Frederick S. Dellenbaugh
  • It is common, however, for the more famed war chiefs to keep their personal enemies on the qui-vive, by periodic threats.

    The Manbos of Mindano John M. Garvan
British Dictionary definitions for qui-vive

qui vive

/ˌkiː ˈviːv/
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

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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