1. confined to one's home, a hospital, etc., as from illness.
  2. Psychiatry. disposed to desire solitude; withdrawn; asocial.
  3. (of an oil or gas well) temporarily sealed up.
  1. a person confined by infirmity or disease to the house, a hospital, etc.
  2. Also called shut-in well. an oil or gas well that has been closed down.

Origin of shut-in

1840–50, Americanism; adj., noun use of verb phrase shut in


verb (used with object), shut, shut·ting.
  1. to put (a door, cover, etc.) in position to close or obstruct.
  2. to close the doors of (often followed by up): to shut up a shop for the night.
  3. to close (something) by bringing together or folding its parts: Shut your book. Shut the window!
  4. to confine; enclose: to shut a bird into a cage.
  5. to bar; exclude: They shut him from their circle.
  6. 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.
  7. to bolt; bar.
verb (used without object), shut, shut·ting.
  1. to become shut or closed; close.
  1. closed; fastened up: a shut door.
  2. Phonetics. checked(def 2).
  1. the act or time of shutting or closing.
  2. the line where two pieces of welded metal are united.
Verb Phrases
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. shut of, Informal. free of; rid of: He wished he were shut of all his debts.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 2018

Examples from the Web for shutin

Historical Examples of shutin

  • "He went off shutin' an hour ago," explained Phineas Glover.


    John William De Forest

British Dictionary definitions for shutin


verb shuts, shutting or shut
  1. to move (something) so as to cover an aperture; closeto shut a door
  2. to close (something) by bringing together the partsto shut a book
  3. (tr often foll by up) to close or lock the doors ofto shut up a house
  4. (tr; foll by in, out, etc) to confine, enclose, or excludeto shut a child in a room
  5. (tr) to prevent (a business, etc) from operating
  6. shut one's eyes to to ignore deliberately
  7. shut the door on
    1. to refuse to think about
    2. to render impossible
  1. closed or fastened
  1. the act or time of shutting
  2. the line along which pieces of metal are welded
  3. 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


  1. mainly US and Canadian
    1. a person confined indoors by illness
    2. (as modifier)a shut-in patient
  2. psychiatry a condition in which the person is highly withdrawn and unable to express his own feelingsSee also schizoid
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 shutin



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.



"person confined from normal social intercourse," 1904, from the verbal phrase, from shut (v.) + in (adv.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

shutin in Medicine


  1. A person confined indoors by illness or disability.
  1. Confined to a home or hospital, as by illness.
  2. Disposed to avoid social contact; excessively withdrawn or introverted.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with shutin


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.