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I'm trying to describe a situation where someone is on high alert, scanning his surroundings looking for potential threat.

It seems to me that "Look around" lacks the sense of tension I want. "Scan" feels strange in the context "one moment he was ____ around in search of threat, and the next [an incident happened]".

Thanks for your help!

  • why not just say, "his senses were on high alert"? – Jim Mar 7 '15 at 19:08
  • Look around edgily? – David Garner Mar 7 '15 at 19:51
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    Unfortunately this site is devoted to English, not Japanese. Otherwise the answer could be きょろきょろ(見回す) - defined there as to look around nervously or restlessly. You might consider something more circumlocutory, such as "His eyes darted round {the room}" – FumbleFingers Mar 7 '15 at 20:37
  • @FumbleFingers darting is an answer (I know because I thought of it before I saw your comment). Offer it. – bib Mar 7 '15 at 23:52
  • @bib: It's not much of an answer (only eyes can "dart", and it ignores pricking [up] one's ears, or other senses put on high alert for danger). Maybe there's a more generic term we're not thinking of (yet). – FumbleFingers Mar 8 '15 at 2:26
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He was casting his eyes warily about/around . . .

cast
verb
2
direct {one's eyes or a look} at something.
"she cast down her eyes"

--Google search (define: operation)

warily
adverb
cautiously; carefully.
"they walk warily down the street, terrified of being caught"

synonyms: carefully, with care, cautiously, gingerly, circumspectly, charily, guardedly, on one's guard, on the alert, on the lookout, on the qui vive, attentively, heedfully, watchfully, vigilantly, observantly, alertly, cannily;

--Google search (define: operation)

As has already been suggested, dart is also an option for a verb, as in his eyes darted around/about warily and nervously, guardedly, vigilantly, on alert (some of which have also been already suggested) can be alternatives for warily.

0

One moment he was alarmed to the sense of threat the next ...

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On guard though he was, [an incident happened].

on guard -TFD

  1. on (one's) guard (against someone or something) alert against someone or something.
-1

Glancing nervously ... This is a sentence too.

  • Casting furtive glances.., – Brian Hitchcock Mar 8 '15 at 1:31
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    Perhaps you could try to substantiate your answer, rather than adding nonsensical remarks to meet character minimums. (There's a reason character minimums were implemented; namely, to discourage two-word answers.) – J.R. Mar 8 '15 at 3:21

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