catch (one) on the hop

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catch (one) on the hop

To encounter or try to communicate or work with someone at an inopportune time, such as when they are busy or preoccupied; to catch one off guard. I'll definitely help you with that report later—you just happened to catch me on the hop right now. If Dean was grumpy, you probably just caught him on the hop.
See also: catch, hop, on

caught on the hop

Caught unawares or in a state of unpreparedness. Please forgive my distracted attention—I'm afraid I was caught on the hop by your sudden arrival. Terry hadn't prepared anything to say at the reception, so he found himself caught on the hop when they asked him to say a few words.
See also: caught, hop, on
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

catch someone on the hop

COMMON If a person or event catches you on the hop, you are not prepared for them and so are unable to respond quickly or appropriately. She couldn't afford to be caught on the hop if stock sold out. Adam took the fourth qualifying place in his semi-final and admitted his success had caught him on the hop. Compare with keep someone on the hop.
See also: catch, hop, on, someone
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

catch somebody on the ˈhop

(British English, informal) find somebody in a situation where they are unprepared: The early start of winter that year caught many farmers on the hop.
See also: catch, hop, on, somebody
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
"They scored two quick goals which caught us on the hop a bit and we had to respond the right way in the second half which fortunately the lads did.
"They definitely caught us on the hop that night," claimed Flatley.
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