stop short of doing
stop short of (something)
1. To cease moving before reaching something or some place. The golf ball stopped just short of the hole. The van skidded on the ice, but it thankfully stopped short of the cars in front of it.
2. To almost or partially do something but stop before going through with or completing it. She told him how much she cared for him, but stopped short of saying "I love you." The president stopped short of declaring war, deciding to wait and see what the foreign leader would do next.
stop short of doing something
not to go as far as doing something. Fortunately Bob stopped short of hitting Tom. The boss criticized Jane's work but stopped short of firing her. Jack was furious but stopped short of hitting Tom.