stop short



stop short (third-person singular simple present stops short, present participle stopping short, simple past and past participle stopped short)

  1. To come to a sudden and unexpected stop, particularly while speaking or driving a vehicle.
  2. Usually with of, to voluntarily cease an attempt to reach a certain point.
    • 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, chapter III, in Nobody, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 1915, OCLC 40817384:
      Turning back, then, toward the basement staircase, she began to grope her way through blinding darkness, but had taken only a few uncertain steps when, of a sudden, she stopped short and for a little stood like a stricken thing, quite motionless save that she quaked to her very marrow in the grasp of a great and enervating fear.
  3. (with of) To come to a stop before reaching a certain point.
    • 2020 December 30, Tim Dunn, “The railway's mechanical marvels”, in Rail, page 58, photo caption:
      Thirteen people were injured in August 1957 when this Bristol freighter skidded on the runway at Southend Airport when landing with a flight from Calais. It ploughed through the boundary fence, but thankfully stopped short of the railway and the 1,500V overhead wires. A tripwire was installed on this section of Shenfield-Southend line to warn train drivers of instances such as this.

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