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Related to footed: flat footed

catch (someone) flat-footed

To startle someone; to come upon someone unawares and/or when he or she is 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


Clumsy, ponderous, or lumbering in gait or tread. The team's star striker deftly navigated the ball past the heavy-footed defenseman.

flat footed

1. Slow to react. Unprepared. Often used in the phrase "caught flat footed." That goal was my fault, guys, I got caught flat footed on the play.
2. Clumsy and awkward. Don't trust her carrying that vase, she's so flat footed. I would change your opening argument—it's a little flat footed right now.
See also: flat, footed

catch someone red-handed

 and catch someone flat-footed
to catch a person in the act of doing something wrong. (See also caught red-handed.) Tom was stealing the car when the police drove by and caught him red-handed. Mary tried to cash a forged check at the bank, and the teller caught her red-handed.
See also: catch

catch somebody red-handed

to discover someone doing something illegal or wrong (often + doing sth) I caught him red-handed trying to break into my car.
See also: catch

catch red-handed

Also, catch in the act. Apprehend someone in the course of wrongdoing, as in The boys were trying to steal a car and the police caught them red-handed, or He tried to cheat on the exam, but his teacher walked in and caught him in the act. The first term referred to blood on a murderer's hands and originally signified only that crime. Later it was extended to any offense. The variant ( catch in the act) is a translation of the Latin in flagrante delicto, part of the Roman code and long used in English law.
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