catch (one) red-handed

(redirected from caught him red-handed)

catch (one) red-handed

To see, and perhaps apprehend, someone as they are doing something (often something nefarious). The phrase might have originally referred to blood on a murderer's hands. The police caught the robbers red-handed as they ransacked another house. Timmy tried to get into the cookie jar again, but I caught him red-handed.
See also: catch

caught red-handed

Seen or apprehended in the act of doing something, especially something illegal or nefarious. He tried to deny that he had stolen the money, but he was caught red-handed by security cameras.
See also: caught
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

catch someone red-handed

 and catch someone flat-footed
to catch a person in the act of doing something wrong. (See also caught red-handed.) Tom was stealing the car when the police drove by and caught him red-handed. Mary tried to cash a forged check at the bank, and the teller caught her red-handed.
See also: catch
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

catch red-handed

Also, catch in the act. Apprehend someone in the course of wrongdoing, as in The boys were trying to steal a car and the police caught them red-handed, or He tried to cheat on the exam, but his teacher walked in and caught him in the act. The first term referred to blood on a murderer's hands and originally signified only that crime. Later it was extended to any offense. The variant ( catch in the act) is a translation of the Latin in flagrante delicto, part of the Roman code and long used in English law.
See also: catch
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 someone red-handed

COMMON If you catch someone red-handed, you see or find them while they are doing something illegal or wrong. The burglar was on the roof and was caught red-handed by the police. They all pleaded guilty to conspiring to import drugs after being caught red-handed by customs officers. Note: The reference here is to a guilty person whose hands are covered in blood.
See also: catch, someone
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

catch somebody red-ˈhanded

find somebody while they are doing something wrong, committing a crime, etc: The thief was caught red-handed as she was emptying the till.This originally referred to catching a person with blood still on their hands after killing somebody.
See also: catch, somebody
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

catch (someone) red-handed, to

To apprehend in the act of committing a crime. The term, which alludes to the presence of blood on the hands of a murderer, originally referred only to that crime. Later it was extended to mean the same as “to catch in the act,” an English translation of the Latin in flagrante delicto, taken from the Roman code and long used in law. “I did but tie one fellow, who was taken red-handed,” wrote Sir Walter Scott in Ivanhoe (1819).
See also: catch, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Scores of protesters, including activists from the local chapter of the Jamaat-i-Islami, gathered at Kutchery Chowk near the district courts and staged a sit-in against, what they alleged was, the negligence and high-handedness of police in dealing with the murder of the youth, identified as Miskeen Khan, who was allegedly tortured by some residents of Mughal Colony who claimed to have caught him red-handed during a robbery.
Expressing his views in the National Assembly, Shehryar Khan Afridi said that Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) on the basis of credible intelligence reports, had been monitoring the movement of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Rana Sanaullah for three weeks and finally caught him red-handed.
We caught him red-handed and seized 4kg of heroin," Maj-Gen Al Mansouri said.
Police later caught him red-handed as he handed over drugs to some people in one of the emirates in exchange for cash.
Muharraq Police station's security officers raided the shop and caught him red-handed.
Thereupon, he along with Judicial Magistrate Wasim Anjum raided the office of the Patwari and caught him red-handed while accepting bribe from him.
Officers caught him red-handed when he arrived at an address in the village of Kinmylies last December.
In a separate incident a 22-year-old Romanian man was arrested shortly after midnight on Tuesday in Limnaria in Paphos after officers allegedly caught him red-handed trying to get away from a flat owned by British pensioners with around e1/45,000 worth of their jewellery.
While the man was practicing his sorcery on the agent, Haia officials caught him red-handed.
"We caught him red-handed - if we had just arrested him he probably would have denied it.
I had caught him red-handed and (call me naive) expected an apology and corrective action.
Police caught him red-handed after a tip-off about a suspected benefit fraud sparked a wider undercover drugs investigation.
"She caught him red-handed. There was rubbish and beer bottles everywhere.
Tyler Juett, 17, was stabbed in a struggle after the 22-year-old man caught him red-handed breaking into his house in Nottingham with two accomplices.
It was in the second home where our hero caught him red-handed, confronted him, and fired two shots at him as he fled.