wrong-foot(redirected from wrong-footing)
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1. In soccer, to make a shot that makes a defender or goal keeper stumble or lose balance. The midfielder scored the critical tie-breaking goal just minutes away from the end of regular time, wrong-footing the keeper with a super shot across him to the top corner of the next.
2. To maneuver in such a way as to catch someone off guard, especially so as to put them in an awkward or disadvantageous position. The candidate has been so unorthodox compared to any previous primaries, and his caustic, vulgar comments have been consistently wrong-footing his more traditional political opponents. I'm not trying to wrong-foot the board of directors, I'm just trying to do what I think is morally correct.
Deceive by moving differently from what one expects, as in He won quite a few points by wrong-footing his opponent. This expression comes from tennis, where it means to hit the ball in the direction the opponent is moving away from. It was transferred to other applications in the late 1900s, as in Susan Larson's review of a concert: "Music wrong-footing and deceiving the ear" ( Boston Globe, November 1, 1994).