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alert (adv.)

"on the watch," 1610s, from French alerte "vigilant" (17c.), from prepositional phrase à l'erte "on the watch," from Italian all'erta "to the height." Second element from erta "lookout, high tower," noun use of fem. of erto, past participle of ergere "raise up," from Latin erigere "raise" (see erect (adj.)).

The adjective is attested from 1712; the noun is from 1796 as "attitude of vigilance" (as in on the alert); 1803 as "a warning report." The verb is from 1868. Related: Alerted; alerting.

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Definitions of alert from WordNet
1
alert (n.)
condition of heightened watchfulness or preparation for action;
bombers were put on alert during the crisis
Synonyms: qui vive
alert (n.)
a warning serves to make you more alert to danger;
Synonyms: alerting
alert (n.)
an automatic signal (usually a sound) warning of danger;
Synonyms: alarm / warning signal / alarum
2
alert (adj.)
mentally perceptive and responsive;
an alert mind
alert to the problems
Synonyms: alive / awake
alert (adj.)
engaged in or accustomed to close observation;
caught by a couple of alert cops
constantly alert and vigilant, like a sentinel on duty
alert enough to spot the opportunity when it came
Synonyms: watchful
alert (adj.)
quick and energetic;
Synonyms: brisk / lively / merry / rattling / snappy / spanking / zippy
3
alert (v.)
warn or arouse to a sense of danger or call to a state of preparedness;
We alerted the new neighbors to the high rate of burglaries
Synonyms: alarm
From wordnet.princeton.edu