Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to off guard: catch off guard
off (one's) guard
Not being especially careful or vigilant; not prepared for danger or surprises; being careless or inattentive. He's got a lot of tricky moves, so don't be caught off your guard! We'll wait until he's off his guard, and then we'll take him and his company for all they're worth!
Temporarily not careful or vigilant; unprepared for danger or surprises. I'll be honest, the question caught me off guard. I should have been more prepared for the interview. If we catch the defense off guard, this could be a big play.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Also, off one's guard. Not watchful, easily surprised. It is often put as catch (or be caught) off guard, meaning "take (or be taken) by surprise." For example, The securities analyst was caught off guard by that financial report, or With any luck the boss will be off guard when I come in late. [Late 1600s] The antonym, on guard or on one's guard, meaning "watchful or prepared, especially to defend oneself," was first recorded in 1577. For example, In this crowd we must be on guard against pickpockets, or I'm always on my guard when I'm asked how I voted.
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.
off (one's) guard
Not alert; unprepared.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.