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wrong-foot

verb (transitive)
1.
(sport) to play a shot in such a way as to cause (one's opponent) to be off balance
2.
to take by surprise so as to place in an embarrassing or disadvantageous situation
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with wrong-foot
Deceive by moving differently from what one expects, as in He won quite a few points by wrong-footing his opponent. This expression comes from tennis, where it means to hit the ball in the direction the opponent is moving away from. It was transferred to other applications in the late 1900s, as in Susan Larson's review of a concert: “Music wrong-footing and deceiving the ear” (Boston Globe, November 1, 1994).
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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