Etymology
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alertly (adv.)

"in an alert manner, with watchfulness," 1763, from alert (adj.) + -ly (2).

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watchful (adj.)

c. 1500, waccheful, from watch (v.) + -ful. Related: Watchfulness.

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vigilance (n.)

1560s, from French vigilance (16c.), from Latin vigilantia "wakefulness, watchfulness, attention," from vigil "watchful, awake" (from PIE root *weg- "to be strong, be lively"). Related: Vigilancy (1530s).

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jealousy (n.)

c. 1200 in reference to sexual possessiveness and suspicion, from Old French jalousie "enthusiasm, love, longing; jealousy" (12c.), from jalos "keen, zealous; avaricious; jealous" (see jealous). Also sometimes in Middle English in a sense "solicitude, carefulness, regard," the connecting notion being "watchfulness." Meaning "zeal, fervor, devotion" is from late 14c.

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vigil (n.)

c. 1200, "eve of a religious festival" (an occasion for devotional watching or observance), from Anglo-French and Old French vigile "watch, guard; eve of a holy day" (12c.), from Latin vigilia "a watch, watchfulness," from vigil "watchful, awake, on the watch, alert," from PIE root *weg- "to be strong, be lively." Meaning "watch kept on a festival eve" in English is from late 14c.; general sense of "occasion of keeping awake for some purpose" is recorded from 1711.

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watch (n.)

Old English wæcce "a watching, state of being or remaining awake, wakefulness;" also "act or practice of refraining from sleep for devotional or penitential purposes;" from wæccan "keep watch, be awake," from Proto-Germanic *wakjan, from PIE root *weg- "to be strong, be lively."

From c. 1200 as "one of the periods into which the night is divided," in reference to ancient times translating Latin vigilia, Greek phylake, Hebrew ashmoreth. From mid-13c. as "a shift of guard duty; an assignment as municipal watchman;" late 13c. as "person or group obligated to patrol a town (especially at night) to keep order, etc."

Also in Middle English, "the practice of remaining awake at night for purposes of debauchery and dissipation;" hence wacches of wodnesse "late-night revels and debauchery." The alliterative combination watch and ward preserves the old distinction of watch for night-time municipal patrols and ward for guarding by day; in combination, they meant "continuous vigilance."

Military sense of "military guard, sentinel" is from late 14c. General sense of "careful observation, watchfulness, vigilance" is from late 14c.; to keep watch is from late 14c. Meaning "period of time in which a division of a ship's crew remains on deck" is from 1580s. The meaning "small timepiece" is from 1580s, developing from that of "a clock to wake up sleepers" (mid-15c.).

The Hebrews divided the night into three watches, the Greeks usually into four (sometimes five), the Romans (followed by the Jews in New Testament times) into four. [OED]
On þis niht beð fowuer niht wecches: Biforen euen þe bilimpeð to children; Mid-niht ðe bilimpeð to frumberdlinges; hanecrau þe bilimpeð þowuene men; morgewile to alde men. [Trinity Homilies, c. 1200]
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