catch napping


catch napping


  • getting someone to deal with a situation since you put them in it suddenly and they were unprepared and not paying attention.
  • to surprise someone.
  • take someone unawares.
  • to capitalize on or exploit someone when they are not attentive.
  • the realization that one is sleeping when one should not be.
  • to catch someone at a disadvantaged.

Example Sentences

  1. His plan to catch his security office napping was successful.
  2. She was caught napping by the present given to her on her birthday.
  3. The opponents were caught napping by the three goals scored within the first ten minutes.
  4. The students are currently preparing for the examinations so that their teachers do not catch them napping like last term.
  5. The workers wanted to catch their employers napping during the strike.
  6. The ball curled directly into the far corner as the goalkeeper was caught napping by the freekick.
  7. The government was really caught napping the day the protesters planned to jam the highways and roads of the town.


The idiom “catch napping” is believed to have originated in the mid-1500s. The idiom is commonly used in the passive with reference to the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor since the United States were not aware as they were caught napping. The idiom is used as an element of surprise.

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