from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of or afflicted with flatfoot.
  • adj. Steady on the feet.
  • adj. Informal Without reservation; forthright: a flat-footed refusal.
  • adj. Unable to react quickly; unprepared: The new product caught their competitors flat-footed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. having feet which are flat
  • adj. having the specific physical condition of flat feet
  • adj. unprepared to act
  • adj. Holding firmly and maintaining a decision; to standing on one's ground.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having a flat foot, with little or no arch of the instep; suffering from fallen arches.
  • adj. Firm-footed; determined.
  • adj. clumsy; amateurish; pedestrian; unimaginative; plodding.
  • adj. Without reservation; without evasion or compromise; firm.
  • adj. With feet flat on the ground; not tiptoe.
  • adj. Unprepared and unable to react quickly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having flat feet; having little or no hollow in the sole, and a low arch in the instep.
  • Firm-footed; resolute.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. unprepared and unable to react quickly
  • adj. with feet flat on the ground; not tiptoe
  • adj. without reservation
  • adj. having broad flat feet that usually turn outward


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • So we sense a real competitive opportunity to bring the Cabela's concept to Canada, and really catch those folks in Canada very flat-footed, which is what's happened thus far.

  • The crowd got it instantly; it drew a huge laugh and caught Hart completely flat-footed.

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  • I've seen roaches big enough to stand flat-footed and do bad things to dogs.

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  • Intuit's causes include, coincidently as an afterthought, certainly, Byron and Comstock, but Keam, was left flat-footed and empty-handed.

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  • Even so, many acknowledge that they were caught flat-footed.

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  • Mr. Sprague cautioned against drawing too broad a conclusion from corporate cost-cutting plans, because big companies pride themselves on not being caught flat-footed.

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  • Earlier this year, Mr. King also was caught flat-footed when he said the department did not conduct an analysis of erasure marks that helps catch potential cheating.

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  • Here's how to make sure you don't get caught flat-footed in the three main components of most portfolios—stocks, bonds and cash.

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  • Loath to be caught flat-footed again, France fired the allies' first missile to help repel Gadhafi's forces besieging rebel-held eastern Libya.

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  • This isn't meant to let the Obama administration off the hook for the flat-footed response they've offered in response to the coordinated attacks by the insurance industry and the wing-nuts who are still whistling "Dixie" over the election of a black man as president.

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