I can't solve this GRE-problem

while the delegate clearly sought to _________ the optimism
that has emerged recently, she stopped short of suggesting
that the conference was near collapse and might produce
nothing of significance.

(a) substantiate
(b) dampen
© encourgae
(d) elucidate
(e) rekindle

Answer : (b) but I selected “c”

I think that ‘the delegate’ = ‘she’. Right??

And I don’t know that “stop short of~”

.
Yes, B is the answer; it is the only word that lowers ‘optimism’, which is the meaning based on the concessive conjunction ‘while’ (= although) and the intent of the main clause.

‘She’ is indeed the delegate.

‘Stop short of’ = not do completely; stop before doing. Here, she did not suggest… (stopped short of suggesting…).
.

Thank you, Mister Micawber :slight_smile: