Origin of hush

1350–1400; apparently back formation from husht whist2 (Middle English huissht), the -t being taken for past participle suffix
Related formshush·ed·ly [huhsh-id-lee, huhsht-lee] /ˈhʌʃ ɪd li, ˈhʌʃt li/, adverbhush·ful, adjectivehush·ful·ly, adverbun·hush·ing, adjective

Synonyms for hush

Synonym study

2, 3. See still1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hush

Contemporary Examples of hush

Historical Examples of hush

  • Hush, Bella, interrupting her, because I don't deserve it—I know you were going to say so.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Kitty dropped on the floor at Helen's feet; the hush in the room was breathless.

  • There was a short consultation, the hush of something wrong, and a murmur of an objection.


    W. A. Fraser

  • And it made us hush down, too, and talk low, like people at a funeral.

    Tom Sawyer Abroad

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • For a while, she listened to the pleasant murmur of the sea, which was like a voice saying "Hush!"

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

British Dictionary definitions for hush




to make or become silent; quieten
to soothe or be soothed


stillness; silence
an act of hushing


a plea or demand for silence
Derived Formshushed, adjective

Word Origin for hush

C16: probably from earlier husht quiet!, the -t being thought to indicate a past participle



verb (tr)

to run water over the ground to erode (surface soil), revealing the underlying strata and any valuable minerals present
to wash (an ore) by removing particles of earth with rushing water


a gush of water, esp when artificially produced

Word Origin for hush

C18: of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hush

1540s, variant of Middle English huisht (late 14c.), probably of imitative origin, with terminal -t lost probably by being mistaken for a past tense suffix. Hush-hush (adj.) is 1916 reduplication. Related: Hushed; hushing. The noun is attested from 1680s. As an interjection meaning "be quiet," attested by c.1600. To hush (one's) mouth "be quiet" is attested from 1878. Hush up "suppress talk for secrecy's sake" is from 1630s. Hush-money is attested from 1709. Hush-puppy "deep-fried ball of cornmeal batter" first attested 1899; as a type of lightweight soft shoe, it is a proprietary name, registered 1961.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper