If someone or something is or stops short of
a place, they have not quite reached
it. If they are or fall short of
an amount, they have not quite achieved
He stopped a hundred yards short of the building.
So what happens if the Socialists top the poll but fall short of an absolute majority?
Inflation is just short of 11 per cent.
They were still 91 short of their target.
COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers