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catch (someone) by surprise

To startle, amaze, or come upon (someone) unawares. That car coming around the corner caught me by surprise. She was caught completely by surprise with the amount of donations she received. Don't let hidden bank fees catch you by surprise.
See also: catch, surprise

be in for a surprise

To be guaranteed to receive or experience an unexpected outcome, especially a negative one. If you think being a parent is easy, then you're in for a surprise!
See also: surprise

surprise, surprise

Said ironically of or in a situation in which something very predictable has happened. A: "I somehow managed to break yet another phone!" B: "Surprise, surprise! How many does that make it this year?" I was telling Sarah about going to the movies with my friend Jess, and surprise, surprise, she launched into another fit of jealousy.
See also: surprise

be taken by surprise

To be happened upon when one is not ready, prepared, or on guard; to be shocked or startled by someone or something. I was taken completely by surprise when you showed up at my office this afternoon for lunch. I wish you would have called ahead! The enemy encampment was taken by surprise when our troops descended upon them just before daybreak.
See also: surprise, taken

element of surprise

A method of stealth or secrecy employed to catch someone off-guard. I'll get mom to let me stay out till midnight, but I can't ask her now, when she's expecting it—I need the element of surprise. The fish camouflages itself and disappears onto the ocean floor, relying on the element of surprise to catch its prey.
See also: element, of, surprise

quelle surprise

A French phrase that means "what a surprise." Often said sarcastically. A: "Ruth isn't coming tonight? Quelle surprise." B: "I know, she's ditched us at the last minute once again."
See also: surprise

come as no surprise

To be completely unsurprising. Considering how much they had been fighting lately, their break-up came as no surprise. If you didn't study for that test at all, your failing grade should come as no surprise.
See also: come, surprise

take (one) by surprise

To encounter or otherwise engage something or someone who is not prepared or on guard; to shock or startle someone or something by one's sudden appearance or action. You took me by surprise when you showed up at my office with flowers this afternoon! Our soldiers descended upon the enemy encampment just before daybreak and took their troops entirely by surprise.
See also: surprise, take

come as no surprise

will not be surprising [for someone] to learn [something]. It will come as no surprise for you to learn that the company is losing money this year. It came as no surprise that the president had been lying.
See also: come, surprise

I'm not surprised.

 and I don't wonder.
It is not surprising.; It should not surprise anyone. Mary: All this talk about war has my cousin very worried. Sue: No doubt. At his age, I don't wonder. John: All of the better-looking ones sold out right away. Jane: I'm not surprised.
See also: not, surprise

surprise someone by something

to astonish someone by doing or being something. You surprised me by your forthrightness. No one was surprised by the way it happened.
See also: surprise

surprise someone with something

to astonish someone by presenting or showing something. I surprised her with a bouquet of roses. He surprised Roger with a new car.
See also: surprise

take someone by surprise

 and catch someone by surprise
to startle someone; to surprise someone with something unexpected. Oh! You took me by surprise because I didn't hear you come in. Bill caught his mother by surprise by coming to the door and pretending to be selling something.
See also: surprise, take

take someone or something by surprise

to startle or surprise someone or something. She bolted into the room and took them by surprise. I took the little bird by surprise, and it flew away.
See also: surprise, take

take by surprise

Encounter unexpectedly, as in The rainshower took us by surprise. [Late 1600s]
See also: surprise, take

surˌprise, surˈprise

(spoken, ironic) used when you are not surprised about something: ‘There’s nothing worth watching on TV tonight.’ ‘Surprise, surprise’ (= there is usually nothing worth watching).
See also: surprise

take somebody by surˈprise

happen to somebody unexpectedly; surprise somebody: His decision to retire took us all by surprise.
See also: somebody, surprise, take
References in periodicals archive ?
When the researchers gave the babies new information about the surprising ball, the babies learned significantly better.
Surprising Millions add to the festivities at Mercato mallWeekly raffle draws end next week
However, the surprising behaviour of complex dynamical systems, including the probability of abrupt climate change and the broader implications, are not widely appreciated.
Surprising Edge: Trouncing the French time and time again.
The rally in industrial metals reflected the fact that by mid-August, reports were filtering out that US industrial output had recorded its biggest gain since January, marking the third increase in a row and pleasantly surprising consensus forecasts.
Most surprising quote: "I feel sorry for Bill Clinton.
It is not surprising and it is part of a pattern that's growing," said Howard Karasik, a bankruptcy specialist with Sherman Citron & Karasik.
Last EPS Surprise greater than or equal to 10% (Once again, stocks posting positive surprises have a tendency of surprising again.
Then again, it's not surprising that the man in charge was Peter Weir, whose films - ``The Year of Living Dangerously,'``Gallipoli'' and ``The Truman Show,'' among others - are all marked by an intelligent eye.
Think how surprised the lad would have been to be told that the surprising stories in the Bible have something to do with him
Studies have revealed that water, despite its apparent simplicity, acts in fascinating, sometimes surprising, ways.
The surprising thing is that is seems to be no big deal.
His performance was especially surprising because he is a closer for Simi Valley.
Even though the disciples had spent three years with a surprising man who said and did surprising things, Easter came as one surprise that was too much for them.
They also took that soil and, thanks to a surprising technological innovation, transformed it into the slabs of rock that they desperately needed for grinding grain and constructing buildings, according to a new study.