Please do NOT rephrase or reword or rewrite the troubling sentence.
Are there any verbs as a single word that equates to fall short (of)
(and thus is an antonym of 'exceed') ?

Context: In this question of mine at Health SE, I want to stress (pun intended) that even calcium supplement doses FAR below the daily maximum, may still harm the heart. 'Fall short of' implies that you're only hovering a little below the maximum; so I need a more extreme word.

Are calcium supplements harmful, even if you fall short of the maximum dose?

  • 1
    Fall short doesn't mean "hovering a little below the maximum"; rather it means not attaining a desired or expected level. The fundraisers fell short of their goal. And "exceed" does not have an antonym/opposite.
    – TimR
    Apr 1, 2015 at 22:19
  • 1
    "even at a fraction of the dose" is probably the phrase I would use. Is there a reason other than brevity why you're looking for a single word? Exceeding a threshold is somewhat of a special context, so I'm not sure there's a specific word for staying well under the threshold. I'll think about it some more.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 1, 2015 at 22:19
  • @ColleenV Thank you. The reason is only brevity, as you say. I was just hoping for a one-word antonym to 'exceed'. No worries at all.
    – user8712
    Apr 2, 2015 at 0:25
  • There isn't one.
    – user230
    Apr 2, 2015 at 6:35

2 Answers 2


No, not really.

"Fall short" doesn't actually mean what you think. It's a marginally idiomatic phrase that specifically implies failure. More literally, an arrow could fall short of the target. For you to fall short of the maximum dose, it implies that you did something that caused you to fail to reach it - not that you simply didn't take that much.

For this instance, you should rephrase the question. Try:

Are calcium supplements harmful, even below the maximum dose?

This is actually shorter anyway. Optionally insert "always" before "harmful" Or:

How much calcium is actually harmful?

  • Thanks, but can you please refrain from rephrasing my question or sentence (about which I didn't ask)? I elucidated this in my OP.
    – user8712
    Apr 21, 2015 at 19:25

I would go for underachieve for one word. 'Fails to' in two.

  • what's wrong? is 'underachieve' a bad vibe word?
    – JMP
    Apr 12, 2015 at 5:22
  • +1. I didn't downvote, instead I upvoted because 'underachieve' hadn't occurred to me. Thanks for the suggestion. However, 'Fails to' contains 2 words which I ask not about.
    – user8712
    Apr 21, 2015 at 19:23
  • thanks, i just wrote it down so I don't forget! @LawArea51Proposal-Commit
    – JMP
    Apr 22, 2015 at 2:50
  • You're welcome. Would you happen to know about other one-word synonyms?
    – user8712
    May 1, 2015 at 3:29
  • in your context I would go for the plain English, 'you take less than the maximum dosage', which is actually 1 extra letter
    – JMP
    May 1, 2015 at 5:30

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