"a reminder of death," 1590s, a decorative object, usually an ornament for the person, containing emblems of death or reminders of the fleetingness of life, common in 16c., a Latin phrase, literally "remember to die," that is, "remember that you must die." From second person singular imperative of meminisse "to remember, recollect, think of, bear in mind" (a reduplicated form, related to mens "mind," from PIE root *men- (1) "to think") + mori "to die" (from PIE root *mer- "to rub away, harm" (also "to die" and forming words referring to death and to beings subject to death).
1726, in on the qui vive "on the alert," from French être sur le qui vive "be on the alert," from the phrase qui voulez-vous qui vive? sentinel's challenge, "whom do you wish to live?" In other words "(long) live who?" meaning "whose side are you on?" (The answer might be Vive la France, Vive le roi, etc.). From qui (from Latin qui "who") + vive, third person singular present subjunctive of vivre, from Latin vivere "to live" (see viva).
"amorous or designing widow," 1907, from the English title of Franz Lehar's operetta "Die Lustige Witwe" (1905). "The Lusty Widow" would have been more etymological (see lust (n.)), but would have given the wrong impression in English. Meaning "a type of wide-brimmed hat" (popularized in the play) is attested from 1908.