Definition of shut in English:

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Pronunciation: /SHət/

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

[with object]
1Move (something) into position so that it blocks an opening: 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, pull/push to, slam, fasten;
put the lid on, bar, lock, secure
1.1 [no object] (Of something that can block an opening) move or be moved into position: 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 (shut it) [in imperative] British informal Stop talking; be quiet.
1.4Keep (someone or something) in a place by closing something such as a door: it was his own dog that 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?
1.5Fold 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.
1.6Prevent 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.
1.7Make or become unavailable for business or service, either permanently or until due to be open again; close: 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.



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

Try to avoid or prevent something bad or unwelcome when it is already too late to do so.
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 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 (down), cease operating, cease trading, be shut (down);
turn off, switch off
informal fold
power down

shut someone/something 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.
2.1Enclose or surround a place: the village is shut in by the mountains on either side
2.2Trap 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)

(Used especially in relation to water, electricity, or gas) stop (or cause something 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.
3.1Stop (or cause something 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)3.2 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.

shut oneself off

Isolate oneself from other people.
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/something out

Keep someone or something out of a place or situation: the door swung closed behind them, shutting out some of the noise
More example sentences
  • She entered the room and closed the door behind her, shutting Ryo out.
  • It's like you shut them out every time you sit down behind your laptop.
5.1Prevent an opponent from scoring in a game.
Example sentences
  • They changed ends with a 13-5 lead but then proceeded to score 14 points in 10 minutes to effectively shut Windermere out of the game.
  • Up a game, we looked like we had a good chance to win the series, but the Blackhawks shut us out in Chicago in Game 6, 4-0, and won Game 7 in Detroit, 4-2.
  • Stus, who took home a $4,500 check for his second-place finish, didn't take advantage of Winger's opens and left room for his opponent to shut him out.
5.2Screen 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.
5.3Prevent something from occurring: there was a high-mindedness that 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.
5.4Block something such as a painful memory 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.

shut up (or shut someone up)

[often in imperative] informal Stop (or cause someone to stop) talking: just shut up and listen I lifted a finger slightly to shut him up
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 quiet, hold one's tongue, keep one's lips sealed;
stop talking, quiet (down)
informal keep mum, button it, hush up, shut it, shut your face/mouth/trap, put a sock in it, give it a rest, save it

shut something up

Close all doors and windows of a building or room, typically because it will be unoccupied for some time.


Old English scyttan 'put (a bolt) in position to hold fast'; 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

Syllabification: shut

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