\ 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

Synonyms & Antonyms for shut

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of shut in a Sentence

Verb 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. Adjective 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 Feed and burp your baby, make sure their diaper isn’t wet or dirty, put your baby in the crib awake, grab a baby monitor, shut the door and let your baby cry themselves to sleep. Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2022 His unidentified roommate went to his room and shut the door after the discussion. Amaris Encinas, The Arizona Republic, 4 Apr. 2022 Berkery shut the door on the Titans after allowing a game-tying solo home run to Woolfolk with two outs in the bottom of the third. Tony Baranek,, 30 Mar. 2022 Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 12 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter to slam the door shut on a comeback and spoil Haliburton’s 22nd double-double of the season. James Boyd, The Indianapolis Star, 29 Mar. 2022 Beckham, a free agent, last week didn’t slam the door shut on a return to Cleveland himself. cleveland, 28 Mar. 2022 Roberts didn’t shut the door on a possible future reunion with Jansen, noting that his deal in Atlanta is only for one year. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 19 Mar. 2022 In May 2015, Ally was getting off the bus when the exit door shut on her backpack. Krista Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 10 Mar. 2022 One reason: the pandemic in 2020 slowed demand and shut factories in Asia. Kenneth Rapoza, Forbes, 24 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The shortfalls are even greater in the Middle East, Southern Africa and Southeast Asia, where many international borders remain shut. Anurag Kotoky, Fortune, 15 Oct. 2021 In India’s rural districts, experts wonder why schools remain shut. Manavi Kapur, Quartz, 4 Aug. 2021 Clubs remain shut, hoping to soon reopen as Operation Blue Freedom picks up pace. Elinda Labropoulou, CNN, 1 June 2021 Bars and restaurants are open, while adhering to social distancing rules, but nightclubs remain shut. CNN, 30 Apr. 2021 Some parents also face child care problems because their kids' schools remain shut. John Phelan, Star Tribune, 27 Apr. 2021 As schools remain shut, millions of women have had to leave the workforce. World Economic Forum, Forbes, 10 Mar. 2021 McCreary is also wary of what happens when some campuses start to reopen in the fall while others remain shut. Chris Quintana, USA Today, 27 Mar. 2021 Elementary schools reopened this month, but all other schools and universities remain shut. Mike Corder, Star Tribune, 18 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The two-hour premiere showed the captains grappling with the usual weather and perilous conditions, and added the obstacles of working in a pandemic and an unprecedented shut-down of king red crab fishing. Katie Bowlby, Country Living, 26 Apr. 2022 That action stretched a wire that pulled a bolt from the trap door, which fell shut. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Apr. 2022 Very lightly brush the edges with water and fold the empanada shut, preventing air bubbles as much as possible. Minerva Orduño Rincón, USA TODAY, 7 Apr. 2022 Many are beginning to worry about food and drinking water, as supermarkets remain shut and deliveries are restricted. NBC News, 6 Apr. 2022 The 10,000-ton segments were assembled at the Bethlehem Steel shipyard on the shore near San Francisco’s Dogpatch district, sealed shut on both ends, and towed into the Bay. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 Mar. 2022 McDonald’s shut stores and stopped services in Pudong., 27 Mar. 2022 But late Tuesday, the Taliban’s Ministry of Education instructed secondary schools for girls to stay shut until further notice. Margherita Stancati, WSJ, 23 Mar. 2022 As the doors to the West were slamming shut, Yandex was imploding at home. Paul Starobin, Wired, 22 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About shut

Time Traveler for shut

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near shut



shut away

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for shut

Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Shut.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for shut


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on shut

Nglish: Translation of shut for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shut for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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