take (one) off guard

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take (one) off guard

To engage, take advantage of, or seize upon one when one is not especially careful, vigilant, or prepared for danger or surprises. He's got a lot of tricky moves, so make sure he doesn't take you off guard! The soldiers moved in quickly, hoping to take the enemy troops off guard. I think I took him off guard when I told him I was resigning.
See also: guard, off, take