catch (someone) flat-footed

(redirected from catch him flat-footed)

catch (someone) flat-footed

To startle someone; to come upon someone unawares and/or when they are unprepared. Usually used in the past tense. The security guard caught the thieves flat-footed. That essay question in the exam caught me completely flat-footed.
See also: catch

caught flat-footed

Caught unprepared, taken by surprise, as in The reporter's question caught the President flat-footed. This usage comes from one or another sport in which a player should be on his or her toes, ready to act. [c. 1900]
See also: caught
References in periodicals archive ?
So, to be beaten after 20 minutes by a long-range strike that appeared to catch him flat-footed was not the best way for Foster to respond.
The muddling gallop and injection of pace early in the straight appeared to catch him flat-footed before he hit top gear coming up the hill, staying on strongly to be beaten the narrowest margin by Shirley Casper.