be taken by surprise

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be taken by surprise

To be happened upon when one is not ready, prepared, or on guard; to be shocked or startled by someone or something. I was taken completely by surprise when you showed up at my office this afternoon for lunch. I wish you would have called ahead! The enemy encampment was taken by surprise when our troops descended upon them just before daybreak.
See also: surprise, taken
References in classic literature ?
I always lacked common sense when taken by surprise.
The King's party, however, had no suspicion that an attack was imminent, and, in direct contrast to the methods of the baronial troops, had spent the preceding night in drunken revelry, so that they were quite taken by surprise.
I do not wish to be taken by surprise," added the king.
He remembered having crossed the road and seen the finger-post only a little while before Wildfire broke down; so, buttoning his coat, twisting the lash of his hunting-whip compactly round the handle, and rapping the tops of his boots with a self-possessed air, as if to assure himself that he was not at all taken by surprise, he set off with the sense that he was undertaking a remarkable feat of bodily exertion, which somehow and at some time he should be able to dress up and magnify to the admiration of a select circle at the Rainbow.
The travellers were at first completely taken by surprise, and could not but admire the facility with which this ragged cosmopolite made himself at home among them.
Strickland was taken by surprise and he staggered, but he was very strong, even after his illness, and in a moment, he did not exactly know how, Stroeve found himself on the floor.
Besides which," said the girl, lowering her voice, and approaching a little nearer to Francine, "we have all been taken by surprise.
Timokhin, armed only with a sword, had rushed at the enemy with such a desperate cry and such mad, drunken determination that, taken by surprise, the French had thrown down their muskets and run.
She was so taken by surprise and pleased by the nice things said in the address, read in Moody Spurgeon's most solemn and ministerial tones, that the tears quite drowned the sparkle of her big gray eyes.
Margaret, if I may interfere, don't be taken by surprise.
Pickwick's servant, they were all rather taken by surprise.
Both mistress and maid were equally taken by surprise.
The Sheriff's men, though once more taken by surprise, were determined to sell this rescue dearly.
Poyser, who always declined, if possible, to be taken by surprise.
She was seldom taken by surprise in this way, her marvellous quickness in observing a certain order of signs generally preparing her to expect such outward events as she had an interest in.