Consider this statement:

I do not know how to tell my partner that her life style is killing the finances.. and short of declaring bankrupt, there is no way out of this.. but the latter is impossible as we have 6 rescues cats that will break my heart.. as they will have to be sheltered if I lose the house.

What does short of mean in short of declaring bankrupt?


To be short of means up to but not including the condition specified, to not have enough of something. A used expression (I dare say common) is

I'm a little short.
I don't have enough money to pay the full amount at the moment.

which is not talking about height or stature.

In your example, the writer is saying only backruptcy will stop the financial problems, anything less than that (short of) will not help.

Some examples

Nothing short of a miracle will help.
Only a miracle will help

I'm short of a dollar.
I have a dollar less than is needed to pay

She's one card short of a full deck.
She's not all there, she's crazy.

He's short of the mark.
He was not able to attain his goal.
He does not have adequate abilities.

Anything short of perfection will not do.
Only perfection is acceptable.

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  • I'm still confused :( – Theo Apr 6 '16 at 3:24
  • @Theo I've added some more examples – Peter Apr 6 '16 at 9:00

short of
You can see the definition here.
Your sentence means that other than declaring bankruptcy, you don't have any way to tell your partner about your poor financial situation.

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  • I don't think that the "short of" relates to telling the partner: it relates to a way out of the financial situation. – JavaLatte Apr 6 '16 at 8:02
  • Declaring bankruptcy won't get him out of his financial situation. It will get him out of the situation of being not able to tell his partner about it. – v kumar Apr 6 '16 at 8:57
  • It means exactly that the only way out is by filing for bankruptcy. Short of means, less than, except, other than. I had to look it up myself as I'm not a native speaker. – Chris Dec 13 '17 at 21:10

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