\ ˈshət How to pronounce shut (audio) \
shut; shutting

Definition of shut

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to move into position to close an opening shut the lid
b : to prevent entrance to or passage to or from
2 : to confine by or as if by enclosure shut herself in her study
3 : to fasten with a lock or bolt
4 : to close by bringing enclosing or covering parts together shut the eyes
5 : to cause to cease or suspend an operation or activity often used with down

intransitive verb

1 : to close itself or become closed flowers that shut at night
2 : to cease or suspend an operation or activity often used with down



Definition of shut (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : closed, fastened, or folded together
2 : rid, clear, free usually used with of



Definition of shut (Entry 3 of 3)

: the act of shutting

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for shut

Synonyms: Verb

close, make [chiefly dialect], steek [chiefly Scottish]

Antonyms: Verb


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of shut in a Sentence


He shut his eyes and went to sleep. She shut the book loudly. I accidentally shut the door on her fingers. flowers that shut at night The door shut slowly behind me. The owner is shutting the pub for the weekend. They plan to shut the factory by the end of the year.


She listened to the music with her eyes shut. Check to make sure that all the windows are shut.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But Apple is trying to shut the lawsuit down by arguing that consumers shouldn't be allowed to sue at all. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "How Apple hopes to stop a customer lawsuit over its App Store monopoly," 27 Nov. 2018 Gently pinch your nose shut while simultaneously swallowing. Brian Sumers, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Pop Your Ears on a Plane—And Why They Pop, Anyway," 10 Sep. 2018 After more than two years in business, Hops & Fire Craft Tap House has shut its doors. Ethan May, Indianapolis Star, "Hops & Fire Craft Tap House has closed its doors," 13 July 2018 Sonny Gray, the subject of much scorn from New York Yankees fans for his ineffectiveness this season, shut the Orioles down for the third time this season in a 9-0 win Wednesday night at Camden Yards. Jon Meoli,, "The Orioles keep making opposing starters — even struggling Sonny Gray — look good," 12 July 2018 The man, whose jaw was wired shut at a hospital, was able to identify Mansaw from a photo lineup. Matt Campbell, kansascity, "Man charged with killing a woman and beating a man in the face with a brick," 12 July 2018 During an acoustic endurance event, engineers shut the 18-ish-inch-thick door, filled with sound-absorbing sand, that rolls closed in front of the spacecraft. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "Inside the Test Chamber for NASA's Astronaut Vehicle Double," 12 July 2018 Sporting News isn’t shutting the door on Michigan State. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan over MSU in Big Ten but Ohio State champ, per Sporting News," 10 July 2018 The window for comprehensive immigration reform may now have shut. The Economist, "America’s immigration system is broken," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association recommended bond trading close at 2 p.m. ET and remain shut Wednesday, while U.S. stock trading ended at 1 p.m. ET. Akane Otani, WSJ, "Treasurys Strengthen Ahead of July 4 Holiday," 3 July 2018 Many restaurants remain shut during daylight hours. Kamakshi Ayyar, Time, "Your Complete Guide to Ramadan, Including the Proper Greeting and When It Starts," 15 May 2018 Many buildings remain shut or under reconstruction, especially in the Roma and La Condesa neighborhoods. Christopher Reynolds,, "Savor Puebla, a Mexican gem known for its food and sense of style," 18 Mar. 2018 Rachel Lindsay took full advantage of the Fantasy Suite on The Bachelor … to catch up on some shut eye. Stephanie Petit,, "Rachel Lindsay Didn't Have Sex with Nick Viall in the Fantasy Suite ... Because of Donald Trump," 7 Feb. 2018 Others remain shut to deal with damage and lack of water. Tim Johnson, miamiherald, "Puerto Rico economy at ‘a near standstill’ | Miami Herald," 10 Oct. 2017 Many assume that schools will remain shut for months. Tim Johnson, miamiherald, "In Puerto Rico, frustrated parents wonder when schools will reopen. It may be a while," 2 Oct. 2017 Some refineries remain shut or are running at reduced capacity, and gasoline prices have soared. Clifford Krauss, New York Times, "We Lived Through a Flood. Now We Have a Very Long To-Do List.," 8 Sep. 2017 Motorists across Texas and the rest of the United States can expect to pay 5 to 15 cents a gallon more at the pumps, as refineries in Houston and other parts of South Texas remain shut down. Gordon Dickson, star-telegram, "Gas prices already rising and likely to go higher thanks to Harvey," 28 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Its auto shut-off feature powers down the base if untouched for more than 8 minutes. Sarah Bogdan, Good Housekeeping, "5 Best Cordless Irons to Buy in 2019, According to Cleaning Experts," 15 Feb. 2019 Training and other administrative functions will remain shut, with employees furloughed. Richard Rubin, WSJ, "More Than Half of IRS Employees to Work During Tax-Filing Season, Treasury Says," 15 Jan. 2019 After five to seven weeks, Mah found the extra shut-eye correlated with a 9 percent boost in both their free-throw and three-point accuracy and a 0.7-second improvement on a grueling 282-foot sprint drill. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, "How Science Helps the Warriors Sleep Their Way to Success," 8 June 2018 All the service aspects of Polaris, including Saks Fifth Avenue bedding and faster meal service for passengers who want as much in-flight shut-eye as possible, were introduced in December 2016. Lauren Zumbach,, "United speeds rollout of lie-flat seats, other Polaris business-class perks," 25 Apr. 2018 Shiffrin has always put great stock in shut-eye, and is known as a serial napper, regularly catching quick sleeps in ski lodges and chair lifts. Sean Gregory / Pyeongchang, Time, "Mikaela Shiffrin, Lindsey Jacobellis and the Utter Agony of Fourth Place at the Olympics," 16 Feb. 2018 Holes in bath toys can be sealed shut with a hot glue gun or drilled larger for easy scrubbing. Jenny Marder, The Seattle Times, "There’s mold in your kids’ bath toys (and that’s probably OK)," 12 Feb. 2019 But zip the top shut, and the intended message is loud and clear: Leave me alone. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Wear This Sweater and No One Will Bother You, Ever," 9 Jan. 2017 But when she got punched in the face and had her jaw wired shut, the show took a turn from being about body and food issues to being irresponsible about the complexity of eating disorders and extreme weight loss. Ellen Ricks, Teen Vogue, "Watching Netflix's Insatiable as an Eating Disorder Survivor Triggered Me," 17 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shut.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of shut


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1667, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for shut


Middle English shetten, shutten, from Old English scyttan; akin to Middle Dutch schutten to shut in, Old English scēotan to shoot — more at shoot

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shut

Dictionary Entries near shut





shut away

shut down


Statistics for shut

Last Updated

3 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shut

The first known use of shut was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shut



English Language Learners Definition of shut

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to close (something)
: to become closed
: to stop the services or activities of (a business, school, etc.) for a period of time or forever



English Language Learners Definition of shut (Entry 2 of 2)

: not open
British : not operating or open to the public


\ ˈshət How to pronounce shut (audio) \
shut; shutting

Kids Definition of shut

1 : to close or become closed She shut the book loudly. The door shuts by itself.
2 : to stop or cause to stop operation She shut down the computer. Shut off the TV.
3 : to confine by or as if by enclosing or by blocking the way out Guards shut the thieves in a jail cell.
4 : to close by bringing parts together Don't look! Shut your eyes!
shut out
1 : to keep (something) from entering Curtains shut out the sun.
2 : to keep (an opponent) from scoring in a game
shut up
: to stop talking

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on shut

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shut

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shut

Spanish Central: Translation of shut

Nglish: Translation of shut for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shut for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shut

What made you want to look up shut? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a payment or contribution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!