on the qui vive

on the qui vive

on the alert or lookout

The French expression qui vive? (used in English since the late 16th century) means literally (long) live who? In former times a sentry would issue this challenge to someone approaching his post so as to ascertain where their allegiance lay.

1976 - J. E. Weems Death Song - They came in groups of four, five or six - all on the qui vive, apprehensive of treachery and ready to meet it.

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