Caught unprepared, taken by surprise, as in The reporter's question caught the President flat-footed. This usage comes from one or another sport in which a player should be on his or her toes, ready to act. [c. 1900]
Read more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.
Poetic Foot vs. Meter
Poetry has a lot of moving parts. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re starting to explore poetic analysis. Poetic foot and meter are a great place to start. Once you have these basics down, the rest becomes a lot easier. A poetic foot is a unit of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry. Poetic meter refers to the number of feet …
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.