Definition of bring (or pull) someone up short in US English:

bring (or pull) someone up short


  • Make someone check or pause abruptly.

    ‘he was entering the office when he was brought up short by the sight of John’
    • ‘As I walked out to the car this morning there was something about the sunshine that brought me up short, made me check the sky for rain clouds, the tyres for pressure and my ankles for matching socks.’
    • ‘The power of the word froze Cordelia, while Joyce was brought up short by confusion.’
    • ‘When Alice Walker's The Color Purple found its way into the satchel of a schoolmate whose mother confiscated the book until she had decided whether it was ‘suitable’, it brought me up short.’
    • ‘That is an indisputably Shiite name, which brought me up short.’
    • ‘Yet suddenly we are brought up short by an act of heroism so obvious and yet so unexpected that one can't help feeling somewhat ashamed of one's voyeurism.’
    • ‘But this provides a tableau of human tragedy which brought me up short when I realised what had happened.’
    • ‘The jump in reasoning brought me up short, and normally I would have leaped on him for it, and the conversation would have ended.’
    • ‘It was the fact that student was Aboriginal that pulled me up short.’
    • ‘It was, however, a chance remark in Cardiff that brought me up short.’
    • ‘It is then that the good humour of these protests brings you up short.’