Definition of be caught short in US English:

be caught short

(British be taken short)


  • 1Be put at a disadvantage.

    ‘he encouraged young people to build up a range of skills so they are not caught short when employment ends suddenly’
    • ‘After 68 minutes, Town were caught short at the back and Kasowali was allowed to run through and crack a firm shot from 30 metres that gave Ward no chance.’
    • ‘Swindon Council admitted it was caught short as a blizzard left no time for gritters to take to the roads across the borough.’
    • ‘Given Yeltsin's snap Hogmanay decision to quit it perhaps isn't surprising that Aron's weighty bio was caught short when it came out in hardback earlier this year.’
    • ‘They were caught short last season after setup man RHP Chad Fox went down.’
    • ‘The council is still caught short with its plans to build public toilets in the centre of the CBD.’
    • ‘But critics claim the authority has been caught short.’
    • ‘I think the architecture profession will be caught short if we're going to be managing them like previous generations.’
    • ‘So lest you be caught short before the Brazil game here are the words to the second verse (ripped off from here) in all their glory.’
    • ‘In January this year, the council was caught short when a snowstorm hit the town and gritting trucks were nowhere to be seen.’
    • ‘If we let Dennis Moran duck and dive and weave his way around the park and let him have all the time in the world to put his kicks where he wants them, then we will be caught short.’
    1. 1.1British informal Urgently need to urinate or defecate.
      ‘those caught short in the store will have to pay £1 to use the toilets’
      • ‘Let's just say he certainly no Angel if he's been caught short and doing what we think he's doing in the corner.’
      • ‘A dumb burglar was foiled in Holland when he was caught short - he used the toilet, and then flushed it.’
      • ‘It's actually a two-seater earth toilet called a midden that was built about 200 years ago during the time of the hall's foremost owner, John Spencer, for when residents were caught short in the park.’
      • ‘They also prevent anglers fishing the canal being caught short.’
      • ‘Campaigners fighting for new toilets in Bingley fear shoppers will be caught short when the town's last public conveniences close.’
      • ‘Gone are the days of being caught short and availing of some light relief for free, as the new superloo brings the town some essential assistance - but at a cost!’
      • ‘On one occasion, after being caught short during a particularly exciting match, he merrily urinated over the heads of the fans sitting below.’
      • ‘We confirmed with Catherine that when Liam was caught short on the way home he would use the stream to urinate in.’
      • ‘He told a cautionary tale from the West Country where he claimed buildings had been damaged by those who had been caught short and decided to ‘relieve’ themselves outside listed buildings following closure of toilets in Bristol.’
      • ‘Shoppers were caught short as facilities remained locked when cleaners went on strike.’