stop short

Definition of stop short

:to stop or be stopped just before doing or reaching something
  • I had to slam on the brakes when the car in front of me stopped short.
  • He was about to say something, then stopped short.
often + of
  • The boss said that she was unhappy with some employees, but she stopped short of naming which ones.
  • The running back was stopped short of the goal line.

Word by Word Definitions

stop play
  1. : to close by filling or obstructing

  2. : to hinder or prevent the passage of

  3. : to get in the way of : be wounded or killed by

  1. : cessation, end

  2. : a pause or breaking off in speech

  3. : a graduated set of organ pipes of similar design and tone quality

  1. : serving to stop : designed to stop

short play
  1. : having little length

  2. : not tall or high : low

  3. : not extended in time : brief

  1. : in a curt manner

  2. : for or during a brief time

  3. : at a disadvantage : unawares

  1. : the sum and substance : upshot

  2. : a short syllable

  3. : a short sound or signal

  1. : short-circuit

  2. : shortchange, cheat

  3. : to sell (a security) short in expectation of a fall in prices


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