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  • enPR: shŭt, IPA(key): /ʃʌt/
  • (dialectal, archaic) IPA(key): /ʃɛt/ (see shet)[1]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌt

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English shutten, shetten, from Old English scyttan (to cause rapid movement, shoot a bolt, shut, bolt), from Proto-Germanic *skutjaną, *skuttijaną (to bar, bolt), from Proto-Germanic *skuttą, *skuttjō (bar, bolt, shed), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kewd- (to drive, fall upon, rush).

Cognate with Dutch schutten (to shut in, lock up), Low German schütten (to shut, lock in), German schützen (to shut out, dam, protect, guard).


shut (third-person singular simple present shuts, present participle shutting, simple past shut, past participle shut or (obsolete, dialectal) shutten)

  1. (transitive) To close, to stop from being open.
    Please shut the door.
    The light was so bright I had to shut my eyes.
  2. (intransitive) To close, to stop being open.
    If you wait too long, the automatic door will shut.
  3. (transitive or intransitive, chiefly Britain) To close a business temporarily, or (of a business) to be closed.
    The pharmacy is shut on Sunday.
  4. (transitive) To confine in an enclosed area.
    I shut the cat in the kitchen before going out.
  5. (transitive) To catch or snag in the act of shutting something.
    He's just gone and shut his finger in the door!
  6. To preclude; to exclude; to bar out.
    • 1697, Virgil, “Aeneis”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], →OCLC:
      shut from every shore
Usage notes[edit]

Except when part of one of the derived terms listed below, almost every use of shut can be replaced by close. The reverse is not true -- there are many uses of close that cannot be replaced by shut.

Derived terms[edit]


shut (not comparable)

  1. Closed; not open.
    A shut door barred our way into the house.
  2. (linguistics, phonetics, archaic) Synonym of close
    • 1810, Benjamin Humphrey Smart, A practical grammar of English pronunciation, page 344:
      Whenever a syllable is formed with a long, that is an open vowel, they account the syllable long; and whenever formed with a short, that is a shut vowel, they reckon it short.


shut (plural shuts)

  1. The act or time of shutting; close.
    the shut of a door
  2. A door or cover; a shutter[17th century].
  3. The line or place where two pieces of metal are welded together.

Etymology 2[edit]

Variation of chute or shute (archaic, related to shoot) from Old English scēotan.


shut (plural shuts)

  1. (Britain, Shropshire dialect) A narrow alley or passage acting as a short cut through the buildings between two streets.


  1. ^ Stanley, Oma (1937), “I. Vowel Sounds in Stressed Syllables”, in The Speech of East Texas (American Speech: Reprints and Monographs; 2), New York: Columbia University Press, →DOI, →ISBN, § 12, page 27.