Caught him flat-footed - Idioms by The Free Dictionary
catch (someone) flat-footed (redirected from caught him flat-footed)
catch (someone) flat-footed
To startle someone; to come upon someone unawares and/or when they are unprepared. Usually used in the past tense. The security guard caught the thieves flat-footed. That essay question in the exam caught me completely flat-footed.
Caught unprepared, taken by surprise, as in The reporter's question caught the President flat-footed. This usage comes from one or another sport in which a player should be on his or her toes, ready to act. [c. 1900]
References in periodicals archive
James McFadden got little change out of him apart from one neat turn in the first half that caught him flat-footed
He said: "Last year it was lack of concentration, but I partly blame myself because I caught him flat-footed
when I asked him to take off.
I caught him flat-footed
when I sensed Flagship Uberalles closing because I asked him to quicken in the last few strides before the fence and we paid the penalty.
Kinane was cruising on Hawk Wing but that sudden injection of pace caught him flat-footed
There was a finality about last night that was not there when Paul Gascoigne caught him flat-footed
with that ambitious FA Cup semi-final free kick at Wembley in 1991.