Keep your eyes peeled and keep your eyes skinned

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Keep your eyes peeled is an admonishment to keep your eyes wide open, to pay attention to everything happening around you, to stay keen, to remain vigilant. Keep you eyes peeled is an American phrase. The British counterpart is keep your eyes skinned, though keep your eyes peeled has gained popularity worldwide. The reference seems to be somewhat literal, to peel back one’s eyelids or to skin back one’s eyelids. Interestingly, the original phrase is keep your eyes skinned, first noted in the United States in the 1830s. Eventually, the phrase keep your eyes skinned morphed into the phrase keep you eyes peeled in the United States, but remained the original phrase keep your eyes skinned in British English.


On your way back to Vis, keep your eyes peeled for a vineyard that sells wine (look for a sign that says “Vino”). (The Huffington Post)

You should always look for slight differences in the length of a person’s sleeves or pant legs, check to see if there’s an extra pouf to someone’s hair, and keep your eyes peeled for missing windowpanes and extra-long shadows in landscape scenes. (The Atlantic)

And if you plan a spring trip, keep your eyes peeled for whales, which head southbound from Alaska to Mexico (volunteers can be found at Bodega Head to help spot whales and answer questions). (U.S. News & World Report)

Keep your eyes skinned for anyone on the bus making a parrot out of yarn while listening with a secret smile to their MP3 player. (The Daily Express)

But they did, and as we kept our eyes skinned on the mixed herd of calves and adults, the matriarch was determinedly taking the air and looking in our direction, out of the corner of her eye (photograph). (The Telegraph India)