off (one's) guard

(redirected from off my 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!
See also: guard, off

off guard

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.
See also: guard, off

off guard

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.
See also: guard, off

off your guard

or

off guard

If you are off your guard or off guard, you are not taking actions to protect yourself against trouble. Note: Your guard is the position that you get in when you are ready to defend yourself in sports such as boxing or fencing. Miss Marple is not perceived to be a threat in any way. And, therefore, the criminal is off his guard. He was so pleasant over lunch that I was off guard and spoke freely. Compare with on your guard.
See also: guard, off

off (one's) guard

Not alert; unprepared.
See also: guard, off
References in classic literature ?
The best way to picture it all is to say that I was off my guard.
For, if he had ever been out of my thoughts for a few moments together since the hiding had begun, it was in those very moments when he was closest to me; and to think that I should be so unconscious and off my guard after all my care, was as if I had shut an avenue of a hundred doors to keep him out, and then had found him at my elbow.
I felt he was only affecting fervour in order to put me off my guard, to induce me to come out in return, so I scarcely even smiled.
For seven or eight months he behaved so remarkably well, and managed so skilfully too, that I was almost completely off my guard, and was really beginning to look upon him as a friend, and even to treat him as such, with certain prudent restrictions (which I deemed scarcely necessary); when, presuming upon my unsuspecting kindness, he thought he might venture to overstep the bounds of decent moderation and propriety that had so long restrained him.
But I cannot imagine how I could be so off my guard.
The wording of the invitation and the manner of the messenger threw me entirely off my guard, so cordial was the one and respectful the other, and the result was that I went willingly, telling Ajor that I would return presently.
A telling move with a good many, I dare say, but it won't put ME off my guard.
My principle is never to be off my guard with friends or relatives; you can't perish except through weakness.