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This timeless joke is used in common conversation and several forms of media and art for decades. The phrase “watch someone like a hawk” uses a hawk’s keen eyesight to suggest watching someone carefully to make sure they don’t do something bad, or perhaps wrong to the viewer. The addition of someone’s wife to this phrase relates to a wife's watchful attributes in a humorous and playful phrase.
Macmillan Dictionary. (n.d.). Watch Someone Like A Hawk. Retrieved June 13, 2020, from https://www.macmillandictionary.com/us/dictionary/american/watch-someone...