Origin Of A Phrase

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RunRedRiot | 20:40 Tue 18th Aug 2009 | Phrases & Sayings
4 Answers
Where did the phrase 'Keep Yours Eyes Peeled' come from? Just the other day my dad had said it and my imagination has been running wild with all sorts of scenario's where that expression would come up!
Ha, Thanks


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It derives from an old verb pill, �to plunder�, which is the root of our modern word pillage. It came to us from the Latin root pilare, meaning �to take the hair off, pluck� (closely connected with our depilate), but which also had the figurative meaning of �plunder, cheat�, almost exactly the same as the figurative meaning of our modern verbs fleece or pluck. From about the 17th century on, pill was commonly spelt peel and took on the sense of �to remove or strip� in the weakened sense of removing an outer covering, such as a fruit. The figurative sense of keeping alert, by removing any covering of the eye that might impede vision, seems to have appeared in the US about 1850.
Your dad probably said it because of a TV prog he used to watch in the 70s. It was one of the first crime progs where the police asked for the publics help. At the end the presenter always said "Keep your eye's peeled" It became a popular catchphrase..
A bit like Nick Ross of 'Crimewatch" who always said "Goodnight, thanks for watching sleep well and don't have nightmares" About 3 years ago this saying was dropped. There was such an outcry that they had to put it back in. Evidently it gave people comfort.

Jemisa. I remember that, Coo how old am I. That was Shaw Taylor on a program called Police Five!
Zen's answer is very concise though!
We've had no confirmation from RRR I hope the answers were on the way to solving the Q.

Gracie, thanks for that those details went missing in the mists of time. (I was only a toddler then) Cough-cough!!


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Origin Of A Phrase

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