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.

Comments on take (someone or something) by surprise

What made you want to look up take (someone or something) by surprise? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a topic to which one constantly reverts

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!