take (someone or something) by surprise

idiom

Definition of take (someone or something) by surprise

1 : to happen to (someone or something) unexpectedly : to surprise (someone or something) Her reaction took me by surprise. The organization was taken completely by surprise by the announcement.
2 : to attack, capture, or approach (someone or something) without warning The troops gained an upper hand in the battle by taking their foes by surprise.

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“Take (someone or something) by surprise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/take%20%28someone%20or%20something%29%20by%20surprise. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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