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1. To stop speaking or be silent. Very rude when used as an imperative. Would you shut up already? I'm sick of hearing you complain. I decided to shut up before I made things any worse.
2. To cause or compel someone to stop speaking or be silent. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "shut" and "up." The mobsters threatened the witness to try and shut him up. The exasperated dad was trying to find some way of shutting up the kids while he made a phone call.
3. To imprison or lock someone into some place; to confine someone. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "shut" and "up." They shut the criminal up in a tiny windowless cell as punishment for attacking another inmate. I feel so trapped, like I've been shut up in the house all day.
shut someone up
to silence someone. Oh, shut yourself up! Will you please shut up that crying baby!
Inf. Be quiet! (Impolite.) Bob: And another thing. Bill: Oh, shut up, Bob! Andy: Shut up! I've heard enough! Bob: But I have more to say! "Shut up! I can't hear anything because of all your noise!" shouted the director.
See also: shut
1. Imprison, confine, enclose, as in The dog was shut up in the cellar for the night, or She shut up her memories and never talked about the past. [c. 1400]
2. Close completely, as in The windows were shut up tightly so no rain came in. [Early 1500s] This usage also occurs in shut up shop, meaning "close the premises of a business," as in It's late, let's shut up shop now. [Late 1500s] Also see close up, def. 3.
3. Cause someone to stop speaking, silence someone, as in It's time someone shut him up. [Early 1800s]
4. Stop speaking, as in I've told you what I think and now I'll shut up. This usage also occurs as a rather rude imperative, as in Shut up! You've said enough. [First half of 1800s]
1. To stop speaking: Shut up!—I can't concentrate. We know to shut up when a teacher walks into the room.
2. To cause someone to stop speaking; silence someone: Her outstanding performance shut up her critics. The children's yelling was disturbing the neighbors, so I went in and shut them up.
3. To shut and lock some building for a temporary period of time: We shut up the camp for the winter. The caretaker shut the cottage up.
in. to be quiet. Shut up and listen!