catch someone napping

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catch someone napping (third-person singular simple present catches someone napping, present participle catching someone napping, simple past and past participle caught someone napping)

  1. (informal, idiomatic) To take advantage of someone's inattention.
    • 2011 January 25, Les Roopanarine, “Wigan 1 - 2 Aston Villa”, in BBC[1]:
      Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi was forced to deny Stewart Downing and Bent in quick succession, and again got down well to deny Bent after a Young free-kick had caught Steven Caldwell napping.