be caught napping

be caught napping

To have one's inattention (or, sometimes, literal sleep) exploited or capitalized on by someone else. The other team scored because our defense was caught napping.
See also: caught, nap

be caught napping

If someone is caught napping, they suffer a disadvantage by not being prepared for something when it happens. The security services were clearly caught napping and their response was therefore inadequate. European firms have been caught napping. As a result, they barely control one-tenth of the world market. Note: `Napping' means the same as sleeping or dozing.
See also: caught, nap
References in periodicals archive ?
Mr Streeter retorted: "We were caught napping when air strikes began, we will not be caught napping if adequate plans are put in place and implemented.
It's better to be prepared than to be caught napping, as was the case with the outbreak of World War II.