to catch someone off guard

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - catch off guard

"to catch someone off guard"

to surprise someone, especially in a way that makes the person feel confused or uncertain


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - catch off guard

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  I heard you were called on to lead the staff meeting yesterday.

Colleague 2:  I was completely caught off guard. I wasn't sure how to proceed.

Colleague 1:  Not being given any time to prepare must have been unnerving.

Colleague 2:  Not to mention embarrassing as I stumbled through the agenda. I am still not sure why the boss did that.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - catch off guard

Two students are talking ...

Student 1:  How did you do on Professor Smith's pop quiz this morning?

Student 2:  That was the first time he has ever given a pop quiz.

Student 1:  So it caught you a little off guard?

Student 2:  I'll say. I was totally unprepared and only scored 54%.

Student 1:  Well, now we know pop quizzes can happen so you won't be surprised the next time.

Student 2:  I will be careful to keep current with my studies in that class.

to catch someone off guard - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   604   click for frequency by country

to catch someone off guard - Gerund Form:

Catching the letter carrier off guard by giving her a Christmas bonus, the letter carrier just stood dumbfounded.

to catch someone off guard - Examples:

1)  It just kind of caught me off guard because I've never been called up before, but it's pretty exciting.

2)  The re-imagining caught me off guard, crafting a unique, powerfully terrifying experience. 

3)  It kind of caught me off guard, but I think after the surprise, I was quickly filled with excitement for ...

4)  ... decision to retire had caught him off guard. I was surprised when Gwen told me her plans for retirement, ...

5)  It caught him off guard, he wasn't a mind reader and when she straight up told him to ...

6)  He said finding out his niece was a heroin user caught him off guard.

7)  It's incredible when life can completely surprise you and catch you off guard.

8)  ... irregular expenses into your budget from the start means they won't catch you off guard or drain your emergency fund. 

9)  ... legitimately keeps the audience guessing what lies ahead and is guaranteed to catch you off guard.

10)  I wouldn't say he caught us off guard, but he definitely stunned us a bit.

11)  They came out blazing, and they kind of caught us off guard, had us on our heels right away.

12)  It kind of caught us off guard. We were in shock I guess for about 30 seconds or so until we ...

13)  One day, a lightning storm caught them off guard, forcing them to pitch their tent near Leven Point.

14)  ... not keep the conjoined twins any longer, the parent's plea caught them off guard.

15)  The timing of Stearns' death caught them off guard. We were all heartbroken.

16)  ... a very difficult and challenging thing to do, especially if it catches you off guard.

17)  ... this probably won't make much difference the next time a cockroach catches you off guard. But hopefully it'll help you remain calm while you wait for the exterminator ...

18)  ... avoid being dumped unceremoniously into the foaming water when a big wave catches you off guard.

19)  We just wanted to speed up the tempo of the game and catch them off guard and it seemed to work.

20)  This unexpected display of gratitude will catch them off guard and brighten their spirits.