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stop short

Also, stop one short. Check abruptly, as in When we tried to cross the street, the barrier stopped us short. [ Early 1300s ]
Cause someone to stop speaking, as in I was about to tell them the date when my father stopped me short. [ Late 1800s ]
stop short of. Not go so far as to do or say something. For example, He may embroider the truth but he stops short of actually lying. This usage was first recorded in 1818.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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