keep one's eyes peeled

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US, 19th century. Peeled probably refers to keeping one's eyelids retracted.


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keep one's eyes peeled (third-person singular simple present keeps one's eyes peeled, present participle keeping one's eyes peeled, simple past and past participle kept one's eyes peeled)

  1. (intransitive, idiomatic, (with "for")) To be on the alert, to be watchful.
    • 1990, Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park:
      And directly below is our Mesozoic jungle river -- where, if you are lucky, you just may catch a glimpse of a very rare carnivore. Keep your eyes peeled, everyone!
    • 2003 November 14, Laura Bly, “Sailing into the past”, in USA Today:
      lookouts posted to the port and starboard bows keep their eyes peeled for the ghostly outline of approaching traffic.