I'm looking for a single-word antonym for the word "exceeds" when it's being used without a subject. For example:

  • "When the interest on a debt exceeds the holder's income, bankruptcy is inevitable."

  • "Surely the man was insane. Like when a mad autocrat's reach exceeds his grasp, but none of his advisors dare speak up, he had begun operating in a vacuum."

  • "Show only those results where the distance exceeds 5 miles"

  • "Avoid committing to any lease where the term exceeds 48 months."

The problem is that when it's being used to describe a quantitative thing, the word appears to be unopposed by a single-word counterpart (much like "surpasses" or "transcends" or "surmounts", it occurs to me, now I start to write this question out):

"Where the distance __________ 5 miles."

"is less than"

"falls short of"

"is shy of"

Am I just out of luck here? I ask because I'm a software engineer, I'm stuck working within a very finite amount of screen real estate, and I have asks from the client that I cannot sidestep:

dropdown that only fits 7 or 8 characters or so

I've never found myself wanting in the vocabulary department before, and I'm nearly convinced there is no such direct antonym, but I figure I'll pick the community's collective brain before going back to them and risk suffering the indignity of them off-the-cuffing a counterexample.

  • You could rewrite some of them. Show only those distances less than 5 miles
    – mdewey
    Commented Mar 11, 2022 at 11:13
  • "Within" or "is within" may be suitable. "Show only those [things] within 5 miles."
    – AdrianHHH
    Commented Mar 11, 2022 at 13:28
  • Googling exceeds antonym indicates that no verb qualifies as such. You have to write around it in the manner that you have already illustrated. Commented Mar 11, 2022 at 18:29

1 Answer 1


Have you considered "below"?

You could then change "exceeds" to "above" which saves you 2 characters of screen real estate.

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