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keep a sharp lookout (for something or someone)

To remain vigilant or carefully watchful (for something or someone). They should be arriving any minute, so keep a sharp lookout. Keep a sharp lookout for a Christmas present we could give your mother. Keep a sharp lookout for the health inspector, we heard he'll be doing a surprise inspection someday soon.

be on the lookout

Watching for something or someone. Be on the lookout for my email! It will have all the instructions you need for the project. A: "What are you guys doing?" B: "We're on the lookout for mom's car, so we can tell dad to stop working on her surprise gift when she gets here."
See also: lookout, on

look out

1. verb To literally peer or gaze out of a place or thing. My cat loves looking out the window and watching all the birds and squirrels outside.
2. verb To be aware of one's surroundings in order to look for or notice something. Look out—there's slippery rocks on that trail! I always look out for deals when I'm shopping.
3. noun One who keeps watch for potential problems or intruders in a particular situation. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word ("lookout"). We can't get caught, so you act as a lookout and yell if you hear mom or dad coming.
4. noun The act of keeping watch for potential problems or intruders in a particular situation. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word ("lookout"). We can't get caught, so you keep a lookout and yell if you hear mom or dad coming.
See also: look, out

be (one's) (own) lookout

Said of a problem or difficulty that one has caused oneself. Primarily heard in UK. If you stay up till 3 AM, it's your own lookout if you sleep through your alarm.
See also: lookout

look out (of) something

to gaze outward from inside something. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) Look out of the window and see if it is raining. I looked out of the door to see what the weather was like.
See also: look, out

on the lookout (for someone or something)

watchful for someone or something. Be on the lookout for signs of a storm. I'm on the lookout for John, who is due here any minute.
See also: lookout, on

keep an eye out for

Also, keep a sharp lookout for. Be watchful for something or someone, as in Keep an eye out for the potholes in the road, or They told him to keep a sharp lookout for the police. The first expression, sometimes amplified to keep a sharp eye out for, dates from the late 1800s, the variant from the mid-1700s. Also see have one's eye on, def. 1; keep a weather eye; keep one's eyes open; look out.
See also: eye, keep, out

look out

Also, watch out. Be careful, be watchful, as in Look out that you don't slip and fall on the ice, or Watch out! There's a car coming. [c. 1600] Also see look out for.
See also: look, out

on the lookout

Also, on the watch. Vigilant, alert, as in Be on the lookout for the twins-they're somewhere on this playground, or He was on the watch for her arrival. Both phrases were originally used with upon. Upon the lookout was originally nautical usage, meaning "on duty being watchful" (as for another ship, rocks, or land); it appeared in the mid-1700s, and on replaced upon about a century later. Upon the watch was first recorded in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719), and on the watch in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility (1797).
See also: lookout, on

keep an eye out (or open) for

look out for something with particular attention.
1996 Guardian Keep an eye open for kingklip, a delectable fish, and the superb local hake.
See also: eye, keep, out

be on the lookout

1 keep searching for someone or something that is wanted. 2 be alert to danger or trouble.
The word lookout , which originated in naval and military contexts, was first applied, in the late 17th century, to sentries or other people employed to keep watch. The sense of ‘the action of keeping watch’, as used in this expression, dates from the mid 18th century.
See also: lookout, on

be ˈsb’s (own) lookout

(British English, informal) be somebody’s problem because they are responsible for causing it: If he wants to invest all his money in one company, that’s his lookout.It’s my own lookout if I fail this exam.
See also: lookout

be on the ˈlookout (for somebody/something)


keep a ˈlookout (for somebody/something)

be searching (for somebody/something): We’re always on the lookout for good computer programmers.I’m on the lookout for a good book on German history.
See also: lookout, on

look out

To be watchful or careful; take care: If you don't look out, you could fall on the ice. The campers looked out for each other on the hike.
See also: look, out
References in periodicals archive ?
Fire Lookout volunteers help to protect forest resources and local mountain communities, as well as urban communities along the forest boundary, from the threat of fire.
Along the way, the job of forest fire lookout has become increasingly rare.
I've come to talk with Haugen and get a first-hand peek behind the often-romanticized veneer of what it means to be a fire lookout.
A lot has changed in the years since Gary Snyder, Gerry Cook, and Kelly Bush staffed their lookouts in the North Cascades.
Lookouts need to understand all aquatics policies, as well as their role on the waterfront.
Newman's experience as a lookout began during college summers, when he staffed the Fairview Peak tower in the Bohemia country southeast of Cottage Grove.
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST - Volunteers who lost access to wooden lookout towers will patrol from their own vehicles instead.
Expect to ski or snowshoe as much as seven miles, gaining up to a grueling 2,400 feet of elevation, to reach the elegant Warner Mountain Lookout, between Oakridge and Diamond Peak.
These lookouts have million-dollar views,'' McFate said Thursday, his eyes fixed out the tower's windows on miles of dry, wooded hills.
Nobody said the rental lookouts are motels on cliffs: Some might have a steep, mile-long "front walk" in rugged country.
Since February, 2006 nearly all available Forest Service lookouts and cabins have been rented through the National Recreation Reservation System.
The Angeles National Forest once had as many as 22 lookouts, but most have been lost over the years to the elements or vandalism.
Everybody's got to eat, but some people - especially those hardy souls who choose to park themselves in isolated fire lookouts during the summer fire season - have to be a little more inventive about it than others.
The lookouts, they are historic structures, so it allows us to help preserve the forest's history,'' he said.