verb (used with object)
Origin of alert
British Dictionary definitions for on the alert
adjective (usually postpositive)
- on guard against danger, attack, etc
- watchful; readyon the alert for any errors
Word Origin for alert
Word Origin and History for on the alert
"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.
Idioms and Phrases with on the alert (1 of 2)
on the alert
Watchful, fully prepared, as in The inspectors are always on the alert for a manufacturing error. [Late 1700s]
Idioms and Phrases with on the alert (2 of 2)
see on the alert.