\ˈshət \
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


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

For years now in Alaska, announcements have cropped up every few months that another Blockbuster will shut its doors. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s last 2 Blockbuster stores are closing, leaving just one in the U.S.," 13 July 2018 The wait in Florence was more than six hours long, which was the case for enough stores that corporate shut the whole thing down. Sarah Brookbank,, "The 'beary' best Tweets about Pay Your Age day at Build-a-Bear Workshop," 13 July 2018 The private sector plans a second one-day general shut-down on July 13th. The Economist, "Daniel Ortega is causing a bloodbath in Nicaragua," 12 July 2018 Dream Center Education Holdings, which owns the Philadelphia art school and is closing 30 campuses around the nation this year, notified students last week of their options to finish their degrees once the school shuts its doors on Aug. 28. Annabelle Williams,, "Art Institute of Philadelphia closing leaves students and employees with hard decisions," 12 July 2018 China’s 25% tax on U.S. soybeans set in last week, fueling concern that tariffs would shut American farmers out of the world’s biggest soybean market. WSJ, "From Seafood to Mattresses: How the Latest Tariffs Would Affect U.S. Businesses," 12 July 2018 But the student didn't fall for the ploy and insisted classmates keep the door shut. Nicholas Nehamas And David Ovalle, miamiherald, "‘I can go shoot them.’ Another threat from Parkland school shooter went ignored.," 11 July 2018 A day after blowing his first save since April 17, two-time All-Star Kenley Jansen was back to his usual door-shutting self. Ethan Bauer,, "Five things we learned from Saturday's Angels-Dodgers game," 8 July 2018 Beck believed the company's engineers had resolved the issue, but when that same metaphorical hazard light lit up again, the company called off the countdown and shut the launch window. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "Never Prebook Your Return Flight From a Rocket Launch," 6 July 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

Governor’s Academy 4, Middlesex 3 — Senior John Doyle had 12 strikeouts and scattered five hits over six shut-out innings before the Zebras’ comeback fell short in the final frame. Nate Weitzer,, "Nobles boys’ lacrosse remains in title hunt," 24 May 2018 Because the mines are a human health risk, they are often bulldozed shut, so wildlife officials and conservationists worked to convince counties and states to forgo that practice. Darryl Fears, Washington Post, "This bat is the first to make it off the endangered species list. Celebrate with a shot of tequila.," 21 Apr. 2018 Pat Regan, a lawyer for Brekelmans’s family, said the windows in the units were painted shut and the two couldn’t escape, while there also were no working smoke alarms. Washington Post, "Victims’ families in D.C. ‘death trap’ rowhouse fire awarded $15.2 million," 5 Apr. 2018 Friends would want to know only why all her closets are nailed shut. Olin H. Cogdill,, "'Vanishing Season': The making of a survivor," 28 Jan. 2018 Amir began wheezing at night — once so badly that an ambulance was called — and woke up most mornings to find his eyes swollen shut with rheum. Hannah Natanson, Washington Post, "Lawmaker calls for delaying demolition near D.C. General until shelter residents are out," 9 July 2018 Photo: rungroj yongrit/epa-efe/rex/shut/EPA/Shutterstock Your browser does not support HTML5 video. Wilawan Watcharasakwet And Phred Dvorak, WSJ, "Thailand Cave Rescue: Former Thai Navy SEAL Dies After Diving Operation," 6 July 2018 Excerpts of the Facebook Live video show the victim with his mouth taped shut slumped in a corner as at least two assailants cut off his sweatshirt and others taunt him off camera. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Man sentenced for hate crime in live-streamed beating of mentally disabled teen," 6 July 2018 The packaging also snaps shut, so the cloths won't dry out over time. Tanisha Pina, Allure, "Ulta Is Having a Huge Summer Beauty Sale Right Now," 3 July 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

4 Oct 2018

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

: not operating or open to the public


\ˈshət \
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

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).


a generally accepted meaning of a word

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!