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To be surprised by someone or something. A: "Oh man, I was totally caught unawares when your mother showed up here this morning." B: "I figured as much when she told me that you answered the door in your robe and curlers!"
See also: caught
surprised and unprepared. Sorry. You startled me when you came up behind me. I was caught unaware. The clerk was caught unawares, and the robber emptied out the cash register before the clerk could sound the alarm.