guard

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Related to guarding: muscle guarding, voluntary guarding, tensing

Don't let the fox guard the henhouse.

Don't assign the duty of protecting or controlling valuable information or resources to someone who is likely to exploit that opportunity. You're going to put your ex-convict brother-in-law in charge of your business? I can't tell you how to run your company, but don't let the fox guard the henhouse.
See also: fox, guard, let

fox guarding the henhouse

A person likely to exploit the information or resources that he or she has been charged to protect or control. My sister is going to put her ex-convict brother-in-law in charge of her business, and I'm worried he'll be like a fox guarding the henhouse.
See also: fox, guard, henhouse

let down (one's) guard

To become less guarded or vigilant; to stop being cautious about potential trouble or danger. We'll wait long enough for them to let down their guard before we launch our invasion. There will always be people in this business looking to exploit you, so you can never let down your guard.
See also: down, guard, let

lower (one's) guard

To become less guarded or vigilant; to stop being cautious about potential trouble or danger. We'll wait long enough for them to lower their guard before we launch our invasion. There will always be people in this business looking to exploit you, so you can never lower your guard.
See also: guard, lower

drop (one's) guard

To become less guarded or vigilant; to stop being cautious about potential trouble or danger. We'll wait long enough for them to drop their guard before we launch our invasion. There will always be people in this business looking to exploit you, so you can never drop your guard.
See also: drop, guard

be caught off (one's) guard

To be taken by surprise; to be caught when one is vulnerable, careless, or inattentive. We'll wait until he's caught off guard, and then we'll take him and his company for all they're worth! Don't be caught off your guard. There are a lot of suspicious characters around here.
See also: caught, guard, off

be off (one's) guard

To not be especially careful or vigilant; to not be prepared for danger or surprises. We'll wait until he's off guard, and then we'll take him and his company for all they're worth! Don't be off your guard, there are a lot of suspicious characters around here!
See also: guard, off

off (one's) guard

Not being especially careful or vigilant; not prepared for danger or surprises; being careless or inattentive. He's got a lot of tricky moves, so don't be caught off your guard! We'll wait until he's off his guard, and then we'll take him and his company for all they're worth!
See also: guard, off

take guard

(cricket) Of a batsman, to stand in a ready position to receive the bowled ball, especially after having asked the umpire to indicate his or her position in relation to the stumps. The umpire has ruled the bowl a dead ball, as the batsman had not yet taken guard.
See also: guard, take

be on guard

To be very attentive and alert, so as to avoid danger in a particular situation. A possessive pronoun can be used between "on" and "guard." When you're in the big city, you need to be on guard against criminals. I'm on my guard because I know the older guys on the team are going to prank me.
See also: guard, on

catch (one) off guard

To engage, take advantage of, or seize upon one when one is not especially careful, vigilant, or prepared for danger or surprises. He's got a lot of tricky moves, so make sure he doesn't catch you off guard! The soldiers moved in quickly, hoping to catch the enemy troops off guard. I think I caught him off guard when I told him I was resigning.
See also: catch, guard, off

let (one's) guard down

To become less guarded or vigilant; to stop being cautious about potential trouble or danger. Also worded as "let down (one's) guard." We'll wait long enough for them to let their guard down before we launch our invasion. There will always be people in this business looking to exploit you, so you can never let your guard down.
See also: down, guard, let

off guard

Temporarily not careful or vigilant; unprepared for danger or surprises. I'll be honest, the question caught me off guard. I should have been more prepared for the interview. If we catch the defense off guard, this could be a big play.
See also: guard, off

catch someone off guard

 and catch one off (one's) guard
Fig. to catch a person at a time of carelessness. Tom caught Ann off guard and frightened her. She caught me off my guard, and my hesitation told her I was lying.
See also: catch, guard, off

guard against someone or something

to take care to avoid someone or something. Try to guard against getting a cold. You should guard against pickpockets.
See also: guard

guard someone or something from someone or something

to protect someone or something from someone or something. The assistant manager will guard your valuables from thieves. She guarded the kitten from the angry dog.
See also: guard

let one's guard down

Fig. to stop guarding oneself against trouble; to relax one's vigilance. He never lets his guard down because he trusts no one.
See also: down, guard, let

*on (one's) guard (against someone or something)

alert against someone or something. (*Typically: be ~; keep ~; remain ~; stay ~.) Try to stay on guard against pickpockets. I am always on my guard. Be on guard when you go into the city.
See also: guard, on

put one on one's guard

to make one wary or cautious. The menacing growl by the watchdog put me on my guard. Every time the boss comes around, it puts me on my guard.
See also: guard, on, one, put

catch somebody off guard

to surprise someone He's used to being interviewed and it seems that no question catches him off guard.
See also: catch, guard, off

catch somebody off guard

to surprise someone One of the larger airlines caught the competition off guard yesterday by announcing a cut in fares.
See also: catch, guard, off

drop your guard

also lower your guard
to stop being careful about sharing your ideas or feelings Once he knew I wasn't a journalist, he dropped his guard and even let me take a photograph of him.
See also: drop, guard

on your guard

to be careful and aware because a situation might be dangerous I resent this attitude that you can't trust anybody, that you always have to be on your guard.
See also: guard, on

be on (your) guard

to be careful to avoid being tricked or getting into a dangerous situation I feel I have to be on my guard with her because she's always trying to get information out of me. (often + against ) Shop assistants must always be on guard against shoplifters.
See also: guard, on

catch/take somebody off guard

to surprise someone by doing or saying something they were not expecting One of the larger airlines caught its rivals off guard yesterday by suddenly announcing a cut in fares. When they asked me to babysit, I was taken off guard and found myself agreeing to it.
See also: catch, guard, off

drop/lower your guard

to stop being careful to avoid danger or difficulty Once he knew I wasn't a journalist, he dropped his guard and even let me take a photograph of him.
See also: drop, guard

the old guard

a group of people who have worked in an organization for a long time and do not want it to change She has tried to resist attempts by the old guard to halt the reform process.
See also: guard, old

catch off guard

see under off guard.
See also: catch, guard, off

off guard

Also, off one's guard. Not watchful, easily surprised. It is often put as catch (or be caught) off guard, meaning "take (or be taken) by surprise." For example, The securities analyst was caught off guard by that financial report, or With any luck the boss will be off guard when I come in late. [Late 1600s] The antonym, on guard or on one's guard, meaning "watchful or prepared, especially to defend oneself," was first recorded in 1577. For example, In this crowd we must be on guard against pickpockets, or I'm always on my guard when I'm asked how I voted.
See also: guard, off

on one's guard

see under off guard.
See also: guard, on

stand guard

Watch over, act as a lookout, as in We'll climb the tree and get the apples if Josh will stand guard, or There's a parking space; stand guard while I make a U-turn and get to it. This term alludes to the military defense of posting guards to watch for the enemy.
See also: guard, stand

nard guard

n. a male genital protector. (see also nads, nards.) There was a nard guard attached to the center of the handlebars.
See also: guard, nard

off (one's) guard

Not alert; unprepared.
See also: guard, off

on (one's) guard

Alert and watchful; cautious.
See also: guard, on

stand guard

1. To keep watch.
2. To act as a sentinel.
See also: guard, stand
References in periodicals archive ?
We definitely have to get better guarding the dribble.
No guard had a buddy on the outside who'd been killed in the previous days or weeks by someone who looked a lot like the people he was now guarding.
For example, wherever I travel these days, I see people guarding things.
On these pages I show you four pictures I've made of people guarding things.
Since most point guards "quarterback" the fast break, we believe in guarding them tightly.
The tough thing about this is that they will sometimes find themselves guarding a different player than the one they guarded the previous time down the court.
When Gbewonyo isn't guarding Funn, the task will fall to junior guard Mariama Wrighster.
But Almanzar, a staff sergeant, didn't expect to end up stationed less than a hundred miles from his West Covina home, guarding Edwards Air Force Base.
Defensively, Carrillo would prefer to hound the player she's guarding but can't afford to take that chance of being beaten off the dribble.
Stockton also causes fear in his opponents who aren't guarding him.