to be less than what you need, expected, or hoped for, or to fail to reach a satisfactory standard:
The Republicans increased their share of the vote, but still fell short of a majority.
Shares in the company dropped 26p yesterday, as profits fell short of City expectations.
fall short of a goal/target/ideal
The economy fell short of the Treasury's target of 2% growth.
fall far/a long way/well short of something
Facilities in these schools fall far short of the standards required.
One or two songs on the album are interesting, but most fall short of the mark (=are not good enough).
if you are running short of something, or if something is running short, it is being used up and there will soon not be enough left:
We're running short of coffee again.
Our supplies of petrol were running short.
Come on, time's running short!
to almost do something but then decide not to do it:
They accused the President of incompetence, but stopped short of calling for his resignation.
to suddenly stop speaking or stop what you are doing, because something has surprised you or you have just thought of something:
Seeing her tears, he stopped short.
if something is cut short, it is stopped before you expect or before it is finished:
His career was tragically cut short when, at the age of 42, he died of a heart attack.
to interrupt and stop someone when they are speaking:
I was halfway through my explanation when Walter cut me short.
to surprise or shock someone so that they stop what they are doing or saying to think for a moment:
The question brought her up short, but after a moment's hesitation, she answered it.
without reaching a place you are trying to get to, because you are still a particular distance from it:
The plane touched down 200 metres short of the runway.
two weeks, a month etc before something:
He died two days short of his fifty-sixth birthday.
without actually doing something:
Short of locking her in her room, he couldn't really stop her from seeing Jack.
to fail to win or achieve something:
We've been to the state tournament four times, but we've come up short every time.
12 British English
to have less of something than you need:
She made sure that her children never went short.
13 British English informal
to have a sudden strong need to go to the toilet when you are not near one