Definition of shut in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ʃʌt/

verb (shuts, shutting; past and past participle shut)

[with object]
1Move (something) into position so as to block an opening; close: shut the window, please she shut her lips tight (as adjective shut) she slammed the door shut
More example sentences
  • Don't keep your bedroom door and windows shut all day long.
  • I shut my eyes and moved blindly forward, towards that door.
  • The sound of the front door opening and slamming shut a second later broke the silence between us.
close, draw/pull/push to, slam, fasten;
put the lid on, bar, lock, latch, padlock, secure, seal;
put up the shutters
1.1 [no object] Move or be able to be moved so as to block an opening: the door shut behind him
More example sentences
  • Peer through the dusty glass and you might catch sight of the two thick yellow metal doors behind, jammed tightly shut with no obvious opening mechanism.
  • Vincent, who had not moved from where he lay, heard the door shut behind them and the room fall silent.
  • When I hear what students, purporting to study for English degrees, know and do not know nowadays, I seem to sense huge doors shutting quietly behind us.
1.2Block an opening into (something) by moving something into position: he shut the box and locked it
More example sentences
  • He shut the cellar door and we heard him push the boxes and rugs over it.
1.3 [with object and adverbial] Keep in a place by closing something such as a door: it was his own dog which he had accidentally shut outside
More example sentences
  • Steve's convinced it was done by some ‘yobs’ outside and dismisses those who believe the door was blown shut by the wind.
  • He and his fellow guards handcuffed the men and took them outside, he closed the door shut, and the slaves were back to work.
  • What would you do if I shut you outside, to stand in the rain and catch cold so you died?
2Fold or bring together the sides of (something) so as to close it: he shut his book
More example sentences
  • Jordan had looked up, suddenly, while instinctively shutting her sketch book.
  • Alex took pity on him, and shut his sketch book with a snap.
  • You shut your biology book with a thud, and stared at him from across the table.
3Prevent access to or along: they ought to shut the path up to that terrible cliff
More example sentences
  • Even the fact that you can shut the Gaza Strip and prevent people from there going to their leader's funeral is not really right.
  • The castle is surrounded by a metal fence, and all of the entrances to it are welded shut by some of his servants to prevent anyone from coming or going.
  • He points out that landowners have weakened the case for shutting access, by allowing deer stalking from last week.
3.1Make or become unavailable for business or service, either permanently or until due to be open again: [with object]: we shut the shop for lunch [no object]: the accident and emergency departments will shut
More example sentences
  • State and local investigators blamed the accident on a maintenance error that left open a natural gas valve as the boiler was being shut for routine service.
  • The moment one shop opens, others that stay shut lose business.
  • Businesses that were shut in the afternoon have reopened, and it's looking like things are slowly getting back to normal.
4 [no object] (shut it) [in imperative] informal Stop talking; be quiet: ‘Sit down and shut it’, he growled



be (or get) shut of

informal Be (or get) rid of: I’d be glad to be shut of him
More example sentences
  • If it was losing money, then I say get shut of it and spend the money on something more important, like players.
  • But he finally got shut of the shop, enabling him to move out of the area, when the Mini-Mart and three-bedroom maisonette was sold.
  • Now, to get this groomed effect must take quite some effort, and a lot more time than just getting shut of it all.

shut the door on (or to)

see door.

shut one's eyes to

see eye.

shut one's mind to

see mind.

shut the stable door after the horse has bolted

see stable1.
Example sentences
  • The government follows every terrorist attack with an announcement of new laws - shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
  • This apparent change of direction, while better late than never, is a case of " shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted ".
  • He said: "At the moment, we're not allowed to close footpaths until we get swine fever, which really is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted."

shut up shop

see shop.

shut your face (or mouth or trap) !

informal Used as a rude or angry way of telling someone to be quiet.
Example sentences
  • This advice only confuses me - should I tell the plant or Paul to ‘shut your trap!’
  • On that note, this letter shows that when such opinions are published, we, the readers, will respond with a united ‘shut your mouth!’
  • John, for once in your life, shut your mouth!

Phrasal verbs


shut someone/thing away

Keep someone or something inside a place so as not to be seen or contacted by other people: she supposes that Mrs Tilney was shut away in her bedroom chamber
More example sentences
  • The grand building will close its doors for the final time on Tuesday shutting away 115 years of history.
  • He was a real human being who didn't shut himself away.
  • She knew her daughter very well, too, despite how Kimberly tried to hide from her, shut herself away.

shut down (or shut something down)

Cease (or cause something to cease) business or operation: the plant’s operators decided to shut down the reactor
More example sentences
  • The 50-year-old solicitor's career has been in tatters since he lost an appeal against conviction for being drunk and disorderly and his business was shut down.
  • Stranded passengers seen outside Piarco International Airport, yesterday, after operations were shut down because of a bomb threat.
  • Coke's operations were shut down in the early 90's during Somalia's civil war.
cease activity, close, close down, cease production, cease operating, come to a halt, go on strike, cease trading, collapse, fail, crash, go under, go to the wall, go bankrupt, become insolvent, go into receivership, go into liquidation, be liquidated, be wound up, be closed (down), be shut (down)
informal go bust, go bump, fold, flop, flatline, go broke, go belly up
close, close down, discontinue, put into receivership, liquidate, put into liquidation
switch off, power down, stop, halt

shut someone/thing in

Keep someone or something inside a place by closing something such as a door: her parents shut her in an upstairs room
More example sentences
  • But, as usual I ruin the possible best moment of my life by running inside and shutting the door in his face.
  • She quickly took her inside then shut the door in my face.
  • The packing site in Claremorris will be the third facility to close, with plants in Foxfield and Carbury shutting their doors in recent months.
confine, enclose, impound, shut up, pen (in/up), fence in, hedge in;
hurdle, rail in, coop (up), mew up, immure, box up/in, wall in/up, lock up/in, cage, imprison, intern, hold captive, incarcerate, encircle, surround, ring, encompass, hem in, close in, trap, kettle;
North American  corral
rare gird, compass
3.1Enclose or surround a place: the village is shut in by the mountains on either side
3.2Trap something by shutting a door or drawer on it: you shut your finger in the door
More example sentences
  • And on a completely different subject (that of pain) I just shut my finger in a drawer while taking a pen out of it.
  • She paused for a moment as though opening and shutting drawers in her head.
  • ‘We can fold the buggy up if you like,’ Mr Upstairs said in a tone of voice which really meant, ‘I'd rather shut my fingers in the door than create any room for you.’

shut off (or shut something off)

(Especially in relation to water, electricity, or gas) stop (or cause to stop) flowing: he was about to shut off the power
More example sentences
  • When he was 30 metres away from the scene, the hydrant burst and he rushed to find a stop valve to shut the water off, which he managed to do after about ten minutes.
  • Well, the good news is, for me, my hot water has not been shut off, I still have my parking privileges so I'm grateful.
  • Monday I came home to a letter in my mailbox, advising all residents of my building that unless the water bill is paid in person by November 20th, the water will be shut off.
4.1Stop (or cause to stop) working: the engines shut off automatically
More example sentences
  • Our trucks have a mechanism that automatically shuts the engine off if it's idling over the limit.
  • An idle-stop function saves had by shutting the engine off during deceleration and when stopped, and regenerative braking supplies electricity to recharge the battery or to run the vehicle electric-only.
  • Then the job is done, and the generator engine is shut off, reluctantly, slowly it cranks down.
(shut something off)4.2 Block the entrances and exits of something: the six compartments were being shut off from each other
More example sentences
  • Both the rear door and two side entrances were shut off from the outside world by neck-high wooden swing-doors.
  • The exit and most of the room was shut off by a massive pile of metal and concrete.
  • Visitors have noted, with exasperation and frustration, that their gateways can be shut off by illegal street parking.
close off, seal off, tape off, fence off, rope off, screen off, curtain off, cordon off, partition off, separate off, isolate, segregate, blockade, quarantine;
seal, close, turn off, cut, stop, halt;
enclose, encircle, surround

shut oneself off

Isolate oneself from other people: I couldn’t shut myself off forever
More example sentences
  • Imagine the feelings that course through you as you brew your tea and anticipate the pleasure of shutting yourself off from the world for an afternoon.
  • The director of the York branch of the Samaritans, said that farmers were suffering high stress levels because they were shutting themselves off from the world in a bid to stop the disease spreading.
  • Hibernation is nature's way of shutting ourselves off as does growth a time to rest and recharge our energy.

shut someone/thing out

1Screen someone or something from view: clouds shut out the stars
More example sentences
  • Free and unfettered, the press can shut people out, ignore their views, or unfairly constrict debate.
  • And so it grew and grew until the summit was shut out of view from the valley, and over the valley itself was an everextending canopy, opaque and grey.
keep out, block out, screen, cover up, hide, conceal, veil
1.1Block something from the mind: anything he didn’t like he shut out
More example sentences
  • The tears slid down my cheeks and I closed my eyes to shut his face out of my mind.
  • He shut his uncharacteristic anxiety out of his mind disdainfully.
  • I thought the story had run its course and I shut royal affairs out of my mind.
block, suppress, halt, stop, forget
2Prevent something from occurring or someone from doing something: there was a high-mindedness which shut out any consideration of alternatives
More example sentences
  • The best officials usually don't know the final score; they officiate in a zone, where the crowd noise is shut out.
  • South Africa had already guaranteed a spot in the finals but, aiming to shut the Australians out of the best-of-three finals series, abandoned the biggest run-chase of the series.
  • The Indians were shut out three times in his first 14 starts and scored three runs or fewer in eight of them.

shut up (or shut someone up)

[often in imperative] informal Stop (or cause someone to stop) talking: just shut up and listen
More example sentences
  • His only initial reason for doing it was to shut her up, to stop her from requesting impossible things from him.
  • Harrison talks too much, and I can't wait to get in that ring and shut him up.
  • She has the intestinal fortitude to get up and have a go after every effort has been made to shut her up and close her down.
be quiet, keep/stay quiet, be/keep/stay silent, hold one's tongue, keep one's lips sealed;
stop talking, say no more, quieten (down), fall silent, dry up
informal keep mum, button one's lip, button it, cut the cackle, pipe down, clam up, shut it, shut your face/mouth/trap, keep your face/mouth/trap shut, belt up, put a sock in it, give it a rest
British informal wrap up, wrap it up, shut your gob
North American informal save it, can it
quieten (down), silence, hush, shush, quiet, still, gag, muzzle

shut something up

Close all doors and windows of a building or room, typically because it will be unoccupied for some time: most of its stately rooms were shut up


Old English scyttan 'put (a bolt) in position to hold fast', of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch schutten 'shut up, obstruct', also to shoot.

  • Old English scyttan ‘put (a bolt) in position to hold fast’ is West Germanic in origin, related to Dutch schutten ‘shut up, obstruct’ and English shoot. The phrase get shut of for to ‘get rid of’ is found from around 1500. The colloquial shut up! is recorded from the mid 19th century.

Words that rhyme with shut

abut, but, butt, cut, glut, gut, hut, intercut, jut, Mut, mutt, phut, putt, rut, scut, shortcut, slut, smut, strut, tut, undercut

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: shut

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.