Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
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."
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. Often used as an imperative. 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 spelled as one word ("lookout"). We can't get caught, so you act as a lookout and give us a sign 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 spelled as one word ("lookout"). We can't get caught, so you keep a lookout and give us a sign if you hear Mom or Dad coming.
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
on the lookout
Watching for something or someone. Be on the lookout for my email in the next few days. 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." We need someone on the lookout for the police while we work on the lock.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
keep an eye out (or open) forlook out for something with particular attention.
1996 Guardian Keep an eye open for kingklip, a delectable fish, and the superb local hake.
be on the lookout1 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.
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.
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.