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 hushing

Historical Examples of hushing

  • No amount of hushing has any effect; you might just as well hush a blackbird or a thrush.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • But when I raised my voice, she put out a hushing hand to my arm.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • Some sin, some compromise, some hushing of that inner voice, something wrong.

  • This let old Simon in for it again and there was no hushing it up a second time.


    J. Storer Clouston

  • She paced the room with it the livelong night, hushing it and soothing it.

British Dictionary definitions for hushing




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 hushing



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