or vi·dette

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

Origin of vedette

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for vidette

Historical Examples of vidette

  • To his mind the red squirrel was apt to serve in place of a vidette.


    Alan Douglas

  • We keep our vidette stationed during the night as in the day.

  • The vidette party, of whom I was one, moved westward across the prairie.

  • On reaching this point I caught view of the cliff where I expected to see the vidette.

  • Loud and angry was the summons of the French vidette, startled sorely.

    With the Black Prince

    William Osborn Stoddard

British Dictionary definitions for vidette


  1. a variant spelling of vedette


  1. Also called: vedette boat navy a small patrol vessel
  2. Also called: vidette military a mounted sentry posted forward of a formation's position

Word Origin for vedette

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 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 vidette

1680s, from French vidette, from Italian (Florentine) vedetta "watch tower, peep hole," from vedere "to see" (see vista).



"mounted sentinel placed in advance of an outpost," 1680s, from French vedette, from Italian vedetta, probably from vedere "to see" (see vista).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper