qui vive

[kee veev]
  1. 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?)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for qui vive

Historical Examples of qui vive

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

  • 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

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

    Crimes of Charity

    Konrad Bercovici

  • At the same instant something moved in the fields to the left, and a shrill voice called: "Qui-vive?"


    Robert W. Chambers

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for qui vive

qui vive

  1. on the qui vive on the alert; attentive

Word Origin for qui vive

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

Word Origin and History for 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