This year, we have an extra day in February . . . but with just 29 days in total, February is still the shortest month of the year. In honor of this exceptionally short month, we are looking at some business related idioms in English.

Idioms with “short”

to come up short

Definition: to be deficient; not add up to what it should.

Example: Sales came up short last quarter; hopefully we can make more profit in the next few months.

Example: If they come up short next month, they might have to fire some people.

Heart Beach Love Girl Sunset California
Try to think of reasons not to study in California and you will COME UP SHORT!

fall short (of a goal)

Definition: to fail to reach a particular standard; to be lacking.

Example: They fell a few votes short of approving the company sale.

Example: When sales fall short, we recommend that a company reexamine its expenses.

With CISL’s Business English classes, you will never FALL SHORT of your goals of learning professional English.

to get the short end of a stick

Definition: the least desirable part of an agreement, arrangement, etc.

Example: Now that I look at the contract, I feel like our department is getting the short end of the stick.

Example: They agreed to give us a part of their commission but I think they feel as if they’re getting the short end of the stick.

to short (someone)

Definition: to deny someone less than deserved.

Example: I think they shorted me about 10% of the expected payment.

Example: He accidentally shorted her a few of the items that she ordered.

Something that’s never in SHORT SUPPLY in California? Sunshine!


(to be) in short supply

Definition: scarce.

Example: Employees who speak three languages are in short supply.

Example: Prices went up because the supplies to make the product were in short supply.


Do you need more Business English practice? Check out our other articles: