to bring up short

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - bring up short

"to bring up short"

to cause someone to suddenly stop what they are doing, often because of surprise


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - bring up short

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  How was your meeting with the boss?

Colleague 2:  It was interesting. When the boss asked if I had finished the Smith report and I told her that I had, she didn't know what to say. She just sat there looking stunned.

Colleague 1:  Of course that brought her up short. You finished the report a full week early. Even I am quite surprised. That was a lot of work.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - bring up short

Two friends are visiting an art museum ...

Friend 1:  What do you think of this piece?

Friend 2:  I, uh, well ...

Friend 1:  Kind of brings you up short doesn't it?

Friend 2:  I can't stop staring at it. The agony of the subject is so profound.

to bring up short - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   44   click for frequency by country

to bring up short - Gerund Form:

Bringing your boss up short by announcing something he does not know about yet is not a good idea.

to bring up short - Examples:

1)  Well that brought me up short. I'm not used to private citizens standing on principle in China, ...

2)  "Do you have any hobbies?" And that brought me up short, because I suddenly realised I don't. How can that be?

3)  It's a really pithy, funny script that brought me up short on my own preconceptions of the characters. Every one of them is hiding something ...

4)  The caption included in the closing credits brings you up short and reminds you just how perilous life is in Syria.

5)  ... sharpness of a guitar or a layer of hurt in his voice brings you up short.

6)  He sees hermeneutic experience as an event that " brings you up short and forces you to rethink. 

7)  she said and paused, "... takes my breath away, brings me up short." A dead body in the street, June 1, 1921.

8)  ... in the story or which seems to be an unnatural response it brings me up short, so I did try hard to make this aspect work. 

9)  However, sometimes a missive arrives which brings me up short. Mean-minded online comment is one thing, but why ...

10)  Time spent browsing the holdings of your KiwiSaver fund is likely to bring you up short against some companies you may not have the highest opinion of, but ...

11)  ... satisfying narrative pay-offs than we get here - but its best sequences bring you up short in the best way, adding up to the giddiest straight ride since ...

12)  ... say it doesn't affect you but every so often it does bring you up short when you imagine it. 

13)  "Will you marry me?" That brought her up short. It took her a moment. 

14)  The question brought her up short. In the excitement over the new job, she had forgotten about what her ...

15)  Photographs of agony bring us up short. The most literal adjective that could be applied to them is arresting.

16)  Even when it brings us up short with the breathtaking brutality people are capable of in times of change.

17)  And damned if it doesn't bring you up short to think about the callousness of a killer who would casually mow down six people entrusted with ...

18)  Jailing Ingham for two years again, Judge Thomas said it had been hoped the prison sentence for stealing the laptops would have brought him up short, but that ...

19)  I was bemoaning Cohen's death the other day, when a friend brought me up short: “I think Leonard Cohen had a really great run.

20)  That last statement brought me up short; by what standard, I wondered, do 58 executions in a city of 10,000 people qualify as “restraint”?