catch (one) off (one's) guard

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catch (one) off (one's) 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 your guard! The soldiers moved in quickly, hoping to catch the enemy troops off their guard. I think I caught him off his guard when I told him I was resigning.
See also: catch, guard, off
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

catch off guard

see under off guard.
See also: catch, guard, off
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
South Korea was caught off guard last week by President Trump's axing of the June 12 summit in which he cited hostility in recent North Korean comments.
I totally was caught off guard with everyone who has been watching it.
The establishment has been caught off guard and is scrambling to find a unified solution," Rajavi concluded.
When her classmate Paul starts texting her, she is caught off guard by his interest and the unfamiliar desire it has awakened.
"I was scapegoated, as expected, in the subsequent press conference but was caught off guard coming out of the cinema the following evening.
"Curad now makes it possible to bring hospital advances home so consumers don't feel caught off guard with life's unexpected mishaps involving minor cuts, bums and bleeds."
Yet Stoke manager Mark Hughes was caught off guard by Walters' op on Wednesday, revealing yesterday that he didn't realise his striker was crocked.
"What happens if you are in a live situation and you are caught off guard?" asked Ritchie.
No one enjoys being caught off guard, but when it happens, Rusk says, "You can say 'I don't know, but let me think about it.'" It's nice to have answers at the ready, but, Alemzadeh adds, it's okay to take time to figure out the right answer rather than just giving any answer.
He's a lovely person, and this was a characteristically sweet gesture, but I was caught off guard by how violently grateful I was for his gift, the wild longing it inspired in me for home.
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS: Gabriel (Adam) was caught off guard when Nick asked why he had been kicked out of the school they had attended.
Those exporters who had sold dollars on a forward basis to banks at Rs 96 were caught off guard. There was very little activity in the morning on the open market as the Minister's views had a disruptive impact.
Chevron's John Watson conceded that the industry had been caught off guard by rising costs, and BHP Billiton's Andrew Mackenzie said inflation was the biggest enemy.Even the 126 per cent increase in global drilling and exploration costs in 10 years, as estimated by IHS Cera, doesn't do justice to the problem faced by some in the industry.