catch (one) in the act(redirected from catch them in the act)
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catch (one) in the act
To see, and perhaps apprehend, someone as they are doing something (often something nefarious). The police caught the robbers in the act of ransacking another house. I suspected that my friend was stealing money from me, and then I caught her in the act.
caught in the act
Seen, and perhaps apprehended, while doing something (often something nefarious). Our security cameras caught the burglar in the act.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
catch someone in the act (of doing something)
to discover someone doing a [bad] deed at the very moment when the deed is being done. I caught her in the act of stealing the coat. He was caught in the act of taking money from the cash box.
caught in the actand caught red-handed
Fig. seen doing something illegal or private. (See also catch someone in the act (of doing something) and catch someone red-handed.) Tom was caught in the act and cannot deny what he did. Many car thieves are caught red-handed.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
catch in the act
see under catch red-handed.
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.
catch somebody in the ˈact (of doing something)find somebody while they are doing something they should not be doing: She turned round to catch him in the act of trying to run upstairs.
This expression is often used in the passive: He was caught in the act of stealing a car.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017