or shut-off

[shuht-awf, -of]


an object or device that shuts (something) off: the automatic shutoff on a heater.
an act or instance of shutting off something, as an opening, a flow, or a service: a shutoff of electric power due to unpaid bills.

Origin of shutoff

First recorded in 1865–70; noun use of verb phrase shut off



verb (used with object), shut, shut·ting.

to put (a door, cover, etc.) in position to close or obstruct.
to close the doors of (often followed by up): to shut up a shop for the night.
to close (something) by bringing together or folding its parts: Shut your book. Shut the window!
to confine; enclose: to shut a bird into a cage.
to bar; exclude: They shut him from their circle.
to cause (a factory, school, etc.) to end or suspend operations, services, or business activity: He shut his store, sold his house, and moved away. We're shutting the office for two weeks in June.
to bolt; bar.

verb (used without object), shut, shut·ting.

to become shut or closed; close.


closed; fastened up: a shut door.
Phonetics. checked(def 2).


the act or time of shutting or closing.
the line where two pieces of welded metal are united.

Verb Phrases

shut down,
  1. to close, especially temporarily; end or suspend operations, services, or business activity.
  2. to stop operating or stop the operation of (a machine): Did you remember to shut down your computer?
  3. Also shut down on/ hinder; check; stop from doing or saying something: He appeared on the talk show to shut down his critics.
  4. defeat or outdo:The team was able to shut down the offense.
  5. to settle over so as to envelop or darken: The fog shut down rapidly.
shut in,
  1. to enclose.
  2. to confine, as from illness: She broke her leg in a fall and has been shut in for several weeks.
shut of, Informal. free of; rid of: He wished he were shut of all his debts.
shut off,
  1. to stop the passage of (water, traffic, electricity, etc.); close off.
  2. to isolate; separate: an outpost almost completely shut off from civilization.
shut out,
  1. to keep from entering; exclude.
  2. to hide from view.
  3. to prevent (an opponent or opposing team) from scoring, as in a game of baseball.
shut up,
  1. to imprison; confine.
  2. to close entirely.
  3. to stop talking; become silent: I thought the neighbors would never shut up and let me sleep.
  4. to stop (someone) from talking; silence.

Origin of shut

before 1000; Middle English s(c)hutten, s(c)hetten, s(c)hitten Old English scyttan “to bolt (a door)”; akin to shoot1
Related formshalf-shut, adjectivere·shut, verb, re·shut, re·shut·ting.un·shut, adjective

Synonyms for shut

Synonym study

1. See close.

Antonyms for shut

1. open. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shut-off

Contemporary Examples of shut-off

  • But the shut-off proved to be short lived and by 2002 Pakistan was already providing sanctuary for Mullah Omar.

    The Daily Beast logo
    A Shady Taliban Capture

    Bruce Riedel

    August 24, 2010

Historical Examples of shut-off

  • It has no shut-off control, and if it did have, I wouldn't use it.

    The Black Star Passes

    John W Campbell

  • The float may then be adjusted to a shut-off position for the inlet valve.

  • The shut-off valve at the top of the device is interposed between the sediment cup and the carburetor.

    Aviation Engines

    Victor Wilfred Pag

  • Evans sealed the turbine from the rest of the steam system by closing the shut-off valves.

    All Day September

    Roger Kuykendall

  • He knew every inch of plumbing; where every shut-off, valve, ventilator, and stopcock was located.

    Walter and the Wireless

    Sara Ware Bassett

British Dictionary definitions for shut-off



a device that shuts something off, esp a machine control
a stoppage or cessation

verb shut off (tr, adverb)

to stem the flow of
to block off the passage through
to isolate or separate


verb shuts, shutting or shut

to move (something) so as to cover an aperture; closeto shut a door
to close (something) by bringing together the partsto shut a book
(tr often foll by up) to close or lock the doors ofto shut up a house
(tr; foll by in, out, etc) to confine, enclose, or excludeto shut a child in a room
(tr) to prevent (a business, etc) from operating
shut one's eyes to to ignore deliberately
shut the door on
  1. to refuse to think about
  2. to render impossible


closed or fastened


the act or time of shutting
the line along which pieces of metal are welded
get shut of or get shot of slang to get rid of

Word Origin for shut

Old English scyttan; related to Old Frisian sketta to shut in, Middle Dutch schutten to obstruct
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 shut-off



Old English scyttan "to put (a bolt) in place so as to fasten a door or gate, bolt, shut to; discharge, pay off," from West Germanic *skutjan (cf. Old Frisian schetta, Middle Dutch schutten "to shut, shut up, obstruct"), from PIE *skeud- "to shoot, chase, throw" (see shoot (v.)). Related: Shutting.

Meaning "to close by folding or bringing together" is from mid-14c. Meaning "prevent ingress and egress" is from mid-14c. Sense of "to set (someone) free (from)" (c.1500) is obsolete except in dialectal phrases such as to get shut of. To shut (one's) mouth "desist from speaking" is recorded from mid-14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with shut-off


In addition to the idioms beginning with shut

  • shut down
  • shut off
  • shut one's eyes to
  • shut out
  • shut the door
  • shut up

also see:

  • close (shut) down
  • close (shut) one's eyes to
  • close (shut) the door on
  • keep one's mouth shut
  • open and shut case
  • put up or shut up
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.