catch/take (someone or something) by surprise

idiom

Definition of catch/take (someone or something) by surprise

1 : to happen to (someone or something) unexpectedly : to surprise (someone or something)
  • The question caught him by surprise.
  • The organization was taken completely by surprise by the announcement.
2 : to attack, capture, or approach (someone or something) without warning
  • The enemy troops took us completely by surprise.
  • Photographers caught the couple by surprise as they were leaving a restaurant.

Word by Word Definitions

catch play
  1. : to capture or seize especially after pursuit

  2. : to take or entangle in or as if in a snare

  3. : deceive

  1. : something caught

  2. : the act, action, or fact of catching

  3. : a game in which a ball is thrown and caught

take play
  1. : to get into one's hands or into one's possession, power, or control: such as

  2. : to seize or capture physically

  3. : to get possession of (fish or game) by killing or capturing

  1. : a distinct or personal point of view, outlook, or assessment

  2. : an act or the action of taking: such as

  3. : the uninterrupted photographing or televising of a scene

someone play
  1. : some person : somebody

something play
  1. : some indeterminate or unspecified thing

  2. : some indeterminate amount more than a specified number

  3. : a person or thing of consequence

  1. : in some degree : somewhat

  2. used as an intensive giving adverbial force to an adjective

surprise play
  1. : an attack made without warning

  2. : a taking unawares

  3. : something that surprises

  1. : to attack unexpectedly

  2. : to take unawares

  3. : to detect or elicit by a taking unawares


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