shut up

Idioms & Phrases

shut up

  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]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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