catch (one) flat-footed

(redirected from caught them flat-footed)

catch (one) flat-footed

To startle one; to come upon one unawares or 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.
See also: catch
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

caught 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]
See also: caught
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 flat-footed

take someone by surprise or at a disadvantage. informal
The opposite of flat-footed in this metaphorical sense is on your toes (see toe).
1998 Field Farming and forestry were both caught flat-footed when fashion changed.
See also: catch, someone
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
The German works team appeared to struggle through practice sessions, after changes in the Pirelli tyres caught them flat-footed. The Italian tyre manufacturers announced a new rubber mix for the rest of the season, as a result of multiple tyre failures at Silverstone earlier this season.
A 22 per cent leap by Foseco's shares caught them flat-footed. They had had a chat with Foseco, but saw no reason for a little thing like that to interfere with their public relations junket.
The on form frontman caught them flat-footed and coolly slotted past Todd.
Crewe caught them flat-footed for both their goals but with Akinbiyi and sub Hutchings hitting back with goals - both from deep crosses by Tinnion on the left - City were way out in front at the end.