catch (someone) flat-footed

(redirected from caught them 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.
See also: catch

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
The German works team appeared to struggle through practice sessions, after changes in the Pirelli tyres caught them flat-footed.
A 22 per cent leap by Foseco's shares caught them flat-footed.
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.