sneak up on

sneak up on someone or something

to approach someone or something quietly and in secret. Please don't sneak up on me like that. I sneaked up on the cake, hoping no one would see me. someone did.
See also: on, sneak, up
References in periodicals archive ?
Stress can sneak up on you, so try to notice the signs before it spirals out of control.
The emotions sneak up on you in Richard Rodgers' lovely, versatile score, performed by Peter Matz and orchestra with their customary panache.
The reason for this seems fairly simple to me--the things we joke about or lampoon are often the very issues we feel the strongest about, and not infrequently humor, whether light or biting, is the only way we know to sneak up on the really important questions of life.
The art-parables of the funnies don't just sneak up on us because they're humorous but also because they look so unimportant.