on the qui vive

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qui vive

 (kē vēv′)
A sentry's challenge.
on the qui vive
On the alert; vigilant: "a loathsome Dublin politico who is on the qui vive for ... terrorists" (Julian Moynahan).

[French, (long) live who? (a sentry's challenge to determine a person's political sympathies) : qui, who + vive, third person sing. present subjunctive of vivre, to live.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.on the qui vive - lively attentivenesson the qui vive - lively attentiveness      
attentiveness - the trait of being observant and paying attention
References in classic literature ?
He sat like a man who is perpetually on the qui vive.
We were on the qui vive till daylight, and prepared for the combat.
We're pretty well forward here and we have to keep on the qui vive.