off balance

1

Out of equilibrium, unsteady, as in When learning how to ride a two-wheeler, it's easy to get off balance and fall, or She stood up and threw the canoe off balance. [Mid-1900s]

2

Surprised, unprepared, as in The teacher gives unannounced tests to keep the class off balance. [Second half of 1900s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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