be caught off (one's) guard

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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
References in periodicals archive ?
In a section entitled "Operation Germ Evasion," the authors provide a list of suggested responses that germ freaks should memorize, so they won't be caught off guard at a party when faced with ignorant comments from non-germ freaks.
Potential home buyers who have dilly-dallied in the last few months might be caught off guard this week by some of the highest mortgage rates in more than two years.