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.

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