noun History/Historical.
Also called vedette boat. a small naval launch used for scouting.
a mounted sentry in advance of the outposts of an army.
Also, vidette.

1680–90; < French < Italian vedetta outlook where a sentinel is posted, alteration of earlier veletta (of debated orig.) by association with vedere to see; see -ette Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
vedette (vɪˈdɛt)
1.  navy Also called: vedette boat a small patrol vessel
2.  military Also called: vidette a mounted sentry posted forward of a formation's position
[C17: from French, from Italian vedetta (influenced by vedere to see), from earlier veletta, perhaps from Spanish vela watch, from velar to keep vigil, from Latin vigilāre]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"mounted sentinel placed in advance of an outpost," 1690, from Fr., from It. vedetta, probably from vedere "to see" (see vista).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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