Keep Your Eyes Peeled

If you plan on crossing the street, it would be wise to keep your eyes peeled for any traffic. In case you were unaware, this idiom means to be observant and aware of your surroundings. So put away your potato peeler and get ready to learn all about this appealing phrase.

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Meaning of “Keep Your Eyes Peeled”

To remain alert and watchful in order to notice anything significant taking place. The phrase keep your eyes peeled means to be attentive and it involves paying close attention to what’s going on around you. It implies that a person needs to focus so as not to miss anything important. Here are three aspects to consider about the meaning of this expression:

What It Means
1. “Keep your eyes peeled” refers to being extra alert in order to avoid missing any significant events or details.
2. It highlights the need for staying observant and ready to take action if necessary.
3. The phrase can imply that a level of caution should be taken due to potential risks that may be present in the environment.

Similar: The saying “keep your eyes peeled” is similar to “be on the lookout,” as they both emphasize the necessity of being vigilant.

Example: He’s expecting an expensive item to arrive soon, so he told his brother, “Keep your eyes peeled for a delivery.” It arrived within the hour.

raw skinned potato, keep your eyes peeled
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If you’re looking for synonymous phrases for the saying “keep your eyes peeled,” then consider using one of these:

1. Keep your ears to the ground
2. Stay sharp
3. Keep an eye out
4. Be on the lookout
5. Pay attention
6. Stay alert
7. Keep watch
8. Be on your toes
9. Heads up
10. Don’t let your guard down

Have you ever needed to tell someone to stay sharp because they weren’t focusing? You could tell them to “keep their eyes peeled,” or by using one of its synonyms, such as “pay attention,” “stay alert,” or “be on your toes.” Speaking of being mindful, let’s consider where this idiom came from.

Origin Of “Keep Your Eyes Peeled”

The origin of keep your eyes peeled may have its roots in the practice of peeling or skinning certain foods before eating them. For example, bananas are usually peeled before consumption, and potatoes are often skinned before cooking. The purpose of peeling or skinning these foods is to expose the edible part inside. Just as someone removes the skin of a fruit or vegetable to “open” them up, the phrase “keeping your eyes peeled” figuratively refers to removing the skin of the eyelids to keep the eyes open and alert.

There are two variations of this phrase. One uses the word “peeled,” while the other uses the word “skinned.” Both forms convey the same idea of figuratively removing the skin from one’s eyes in order to pay better attention.

Both variations of the idiom appear in print as early as the 19th century. The version with the word “skinned” is seen written in an old book from 1832:

“‘Keep your eyes skinned now,’ said the old trapper.”

The other form (the one that uses the word “peeled”) is written in the Kenosha Telegraph newspaper, 1852:

“Keep your eyes peeled for all their antics.”

Note: There are many common phrases and sayings on here that you can learn about. Keep an eye out for them, as I’ve heard they can be particularly interesting.

Examples and Sentences

These examples can help us in understanding how to use this phrase. We’ll start with this first set of sentences:


1. When you go on a hike, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for any signs of wildlife.
2. I lost my phone and need to find it before I leave, so please keep your eyes peeled for it.
3. Given how hot this summer is, we try to keep our eyes peeled for parking spots that are closer to the entrance.

Now let’s examine another group of examples, but this time we will use a synonym in place of the expression.


1. When you are finished with your homework, pay attention to see if there are any spelling mistakes.
2. I’m expecting an essential call in the next hour, so I’m keeping my ears to the ground to ensure I don’t miss it.
3. There’s a spider on the loose somewhere in the bedroom, so keep watch for it.

Notice in these examples how “keep your eyes peeled” and similar phrases are used to emphasize the importance of being alert and ready to act. That is the what the expression means in a nutshell. Now that you know more about this idiom, consider learning about some other phrases like the ones below.