Idiom of the Week: Catch Someone Red-Handed

Meaning: To catch someone at the very moment they’re doing something bad.


The store owner caught the thief red-handed and quickly called the police.

The teacher saw the student looking at his classmate’s test, catching him red-handed.

“You caught me red-handed,” I said to my angry roommate as I ate the last of his leftovers.

Pop Quiz:

You’ve been caught red-handed if…

A.  your boyfriend sees you reading a text message from another man.

B.  you drink a lot of coffee in the morning.

C.  you exercise until your face turns red.

To see the correct answer, click on “Continue reading”:

The correct answer is A. Even if the other man is just a friend, your boyfriend might become jealous. The key to not getting caught red-handed is making sure you’re alone!


3 thoughts on “Idiom of the Week: Catch Someone Red-Handed

  1. Sze Wong says:

    This is a true story
    I recalled when i was young, one of my classmate ( in High school) who came to my house picked up me to went to school.
    one day she had stolen one pair of our bead slipper that was my grandma brought 100 pairs from the factory every week. my grandma and I processed (treated ) those slippers at home. When we done. My grandma sent it back to the factory and received the salary.

    My grandmother had ran caught her red-handed by the haif the way of my school.
    She felt shamed, her face was very red.
    P. S. Joe or jon :If you both dont bring this idiom up,I forgot this story.

  2. We’re glad we could help you “take a trip down Memory Lane.”

  3. Lynne says:

    There’s more to the story. Most idioms have an historical source. Red-handed is a straightforward allusion to having blood on one’s hands after the execution of a murder or a poaching session. The term originates from Scotland. An earlier form of ‘red-handed’, simply ‘red hand’, dates back to a usage in the Scottish Acts of Parliament of James I, 1432 and appears in print many times in Scottish legal proceedings from the 15th century onward.

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