qui vive

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from French qui vive (who lives?), a sentry's challenge

Noun[edit]

qui vive (uncountable)

  1. a state of heightened vigilance, especially prior to battle
    • 1836, Oliver Wendell Holmes Qui Vive
      "QUI vive!" The sentry's musket rings,
      The channelled bayonet gleams;
      High o'er him, like a raven's wings
      The broad tri-colored banner flings
      "QUI vive!" The sentry's musket rings,. The channelled bayonet #:gleams; ... "Qui vive!" How oft the midnight air. That startling cry has borne! ...
    • 1917, Grace Ellery Channing, "The Flags of France"
      Qui vive? Who passes by up there?
      Who moves -- what stirs in the startled air?
      What whispers, thrills, exults up there?
      Qui vive?
    • 1920, J[ohn] O[tway] P[ercy] Bland, “[Exhibit G.] Three Palaces.”, in Administration of Immigration Laws: Hearings before the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization: United States House of Representatives, Sixty-sixth Congress, Second Session: [], Washington, D.C.: United States Government Publishing Office, OCLC 19444224, page 373:
      The political influence wielded by many of the court ladies, and especially by the first lady-in-waiting (mother of the present Emperor), bears a certain resemblance to that which the eunuchs wielded under the later Manchus at the court of Peking. [...] And behind the 30 ladies-in-waiting there are the rank and file of female palace attendants, some 300, all of Kyoto stock—quite sufficient to keep any conscientious chamberlain on the qui vive.
    • (Can we date this quote by Jack Miles and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      Were a tall black man to do the same, there is not one of us who would not immediately be on the qui vive. My sadness about the American estrangement just mentioned doesn't make me act any differently at such a moment,

Derived terms[edit]