take by surprise

(redirected from by surprise)

take someone by surprise

 and catch someone by surprise
to startle someone; to surprise someone with something unexpected. Oh! You took me by surprise because I didn't hear you come in. Bill caught his mother by surprise by coming to the door and pretending to be selling something.
See also: surprise, take

take someone or something by surprise

to startle or surprise someone or something. She bolted into the room and took them by surprise. I took the little bird by surprise, and it flew away.
See also: surprise, take

take (somebody) by surprise

to do something not expected His resignation took us all completely by surprise.
See also: surprise, take

take by surprise

Encounter unexpectedly, as in The rainshower took us by surprise. [Late 1600s]
See also: surprise, take
References in classic literature ?
On the fifteenth of the month, an event happened which took every one but Norah by surprise.
The travellers were at first completely taken by surprise, and could not but admire the facility with which this ragged cosmopolite made himself at home among them.
Authors Max Bazerman of the Harvard Business School, and Michael Watkins, founder of Genesis Advisers, a leadership and strategy consultancy, define a predictable surprise as "an event or set of events that take an individual or group by surprise, despite prior awareness of all the information necessary to anticipate the events and their consequences.
ATC/Vancom, which contracts with the city to operate the transit service, was caught by surprise by the walkout, spokesman Arthur Sohikian said.
He knocked on doors, not chimneys, catching folks by surprise.