Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

2017 Word of the Year

alert

[uh-lurt] /əˈlɜrt/
adjective
1.
fully aware and attentive; wide-awake; keen:
an alert mind.
2.
swift; agile; nimble.
noun
3.
an attitude of vigilance, readiness, or caution, as before an expected attack.
4.
a warning or alarm of an impending military attack, a storm, etc.:
We'd just boarded the bus when the alert sounded.
5.
the period during which such a warning or alarm is in effect.
verb (used with object)
6.
to warn (troops, ships, etc.) to prepare for action.
7.
to warn of an impending raid, attack, storm, etc.:
The radio alerted coastal residents to prepare for the hurricane.
8.
to advise or warn; cause to be on guard:
to alert gardeners to the dangers of some pesticides.
Idioms
9.
on the alert, on guard against danger; in readiness; vigilant:
The state police are on the alert for an escaped convict believed to be in the area.
Origin of alert
1590-1600
1590-1600; 1940-45 for def 4; < Italian all'erta, equivalent to all(a) to, on the + erta lookout, watchtower, orig. feminine of erto, past participle of ergere < Latin ērigere to erect
Related forms
alertly, adverb
alertness, noun
hyperalert, adjective
unalerted, adjective
Synonyms
1. awake, wary, observant. 2. brisk, lively, quick, active, sprightly, spirited.
Antonyms
1. unaware.
Synonym Study
1. Alert, vigilant, watchful imply a wide-awake attitude, as of someone keenly aware of his or her surroundings. Alert describes a ready and prompt attentiveness together with a quick intelligence: The tourist was alert and eager to see the sights. Vigilant suggests some immediate necessity for keen, active observation, and for continuing alertness: Knowing the danger, the scout was unceasingly vigilant. Watchful suggests carefulness and preparedness: watchful waiting.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for alertly
Historical Examples
  • She went briskly, alertly, like one with a definite end in view.

    Four Girls and a Compact Annie Hamilton Donnell
  • Jim began backing off as soon as he had it in his hand, watching Spence alertly.

  • He looked at neither of the bad-men, but he was very coolly and alertly on guard.

    Oh, You Tex! William Macleod Raine
  • He was alertly watchful for any quick thrust that might find him off guard.

    Otherwise Phyllis Meredith Nicholson
  • He did not see the fire smouldering in the squinting eyes so alertly watching him.

    Bar-20 Days Clarence E. Mulford
  • Braybrooke looked suddenly surprised and then alertly observant.

    December Love Robert Hichens
  • Still,” she bustled on alertly, “we got to give him warning.

    The One-Way Trail Ridgwell Cullum
  • But Shirley only laughed gaily at this question, and alertly started up.

    Shirley Charlotte Bront
  • He took her arm again and alertly began to work through the throng.

    DP Arthur Dekker Savage
  • “Probably he was the one who sent the letter,” said Penny alertly.

    Clue of the Silken Ladder Mildred A. Wirt
British Dictionary definitions for alertly

alert

/əˈlɜːt/
adjective (usually postpositive)
1.
vigilantly attentive: alert to the problems
2.
brisk, nimble, or lively
noun
3.
an alarm or warning, esp a siren warning of an air raid
4.
the period during which such a warning remains in effect
5.
on the alert
  1. on guard against danger, attack, etc
  2. watchful; ready: on the alert for any errors
verb (transitive)
6.
to warn or signal (troops, police, etc) to prepare for action
7.
to warn of danger, an attack, etc
Derived Forms
alertly, adverb
alertness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Italian all'erta on the watch, from erta lookout post, from ergere to build up, from Latin ērigere; see erect
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for alertly
adv.

1787, from alert + -ly (2).

alert

adv.

"on the watch," 1590s, from French alerte "vigilant" (17c.), from phrase à l'erte "on the watch," from Italian all'erta "to the height," from erta "lookout, high tower," noun use of fem. of erto, past participle of ergere "raise up," from Latin erigere "raise" (see erect). The adjective is attested from 1610s, the noun from 1803, and the verb from 1868. Related: Alerted; alerting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with alertly

alert

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for alertly

Word Value for alertly

10
11
Scrabble Words With Friends