From Better Call Saul:

PRICE : We're short . Twenty dollars, That's fine.
MIKE: Agreed amount or no deal.
NACHO :You serious? You saying I intentionally shorted you?
MIKE:No. Mistakes happen.

Is "shorted you" an idiom? or is it a common expression?

  • 3
    Yes and yes. It means to pay someone less than the agreed upon amount. The payment is said to be short of that amount, hence the verb.
    – deadrat
    Aug 9, 2016 at 7:43
  • 4
    I believe it's a contraction of "short-changed" merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shortchange Aug 9, 2016 at 8:09
  • Yes, I agree with @Max. But I can't work out who is saying what in that dialogue of yours! I think perhaps the fourth and fifth lines should be concatenated.
    – TonyK
    Aug 10, 2016 at 22:26
  • 1
    Look up short in a dictionary. Look under "verb".
    – dangph
    Aug 11, 2016 at 8:44

1 Answer 1


Actually, it's not all that easy to find the correct meaning in a dictionary (although the comments under the question probably should have helped quite a bit). Looking at Merriam Webster we find for short, under verb:

1 : short-circuit
2 : shortchange, cheat 3 : to sell (a security) short in expectation of a fall in prices

option 1 is about electricity, and not relevant in this case. The third option is about the stock-exchange, and not relevant either, although that may not be clear immediately.

The second option is what we are looking for. We can actually substitute cheat for short in the given dialogue without really changing its meaning.

If we look up shortchange we get:

1 : to give less than the correct amount of change to
2 : to deprive of or give less than something due

Where the second option is a more detailed explanaition of cheat.

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