Definition of shtum in English:


(also schtum)


  • Silent; non-communicative.

    ‘he kept shtum about the fact that he was sent down for fraud’
    • ‘I trusted him to keep schtum about it afterwards.’
    • ‘I think Kim has been keeping schtum to see how the US election went.’
    • ‘Crazy new guidelines mean his staying schtum was the only way to preserve his vote at the planning committee.’
    • ‘I said I would stay schtum until the end of the series.’
    • ‘There is a chance of course that he'll do the decent thing and keep shtum until the Memoirs are published.’
    • ‘These kind of dodgy deals and payments happen at every club, and practically every transfer, but most people privy to the information know that it is in their best interests to keep schtum.’
    • ‘The Icelandic fans are a polite lot, keeping shtum during the quiet bits, a few going dutifully mental when the music becomes as abrasive as the grinding of tectonic plates.’
    • ‘My head's still spinning and I don't want to make myself look daft so I'm keeping schtum.’
    • ‘I know a little about birds but am hardly an expert, so I - like everyone else - kept schtum.’
    • ‘Some very talented so and so must have worked on this season's hit collections, but the Italian fashion giant is keeping shtum about their identity.’
    • ‘The company is staying schtum on details on the deal, saying it is an internal matter.’
    • ‘The fact that it was the managers, Martin O'Neill and Craig Levein, who publicly stoked the fires while players, on the whole, were smart enough to keep schtum was all the more remarkable.’
    • ‘He kept shtum and didn't embarrass her once for the following 11 years and, instead, contented himself with being an almost mute second fiddle to a woman of whom he was inordinately proud.’
    • ‘Steve then proceeded to rant and rave at the musty defendant who, taking his lawyer's advice, kept well shtum.’
    • ‘People usually keep schtum about this kind of thing.’
    • ‘I kept shtum that I had just completed a Politics degree under an America-obsessed Prof.’
    • ‘It is interesting they are keeping schtum, it makes it seem very mysterious.’
    • ‘However, Josie's forked tongue flickers into persuasive mode and eventually convinces Tasha to keep schtum.’
    • ‘Keeping schtum as to your real identity would protect you from becoming one of the 360,000 people per year who allegedly receive subpoenas as a result of their blogging.’
    • ‘I know you complain about me posting way too much for you to read, so, other than significant breaking news, I will keep shtum until at least Friday afternoon.’


[NO OBJECT]informal
  • Be or become quiet and non-communicative.

    ‘you start to say something and then just when it's getting interesting you shtum up’
    • ‘The possible risk being that she schtums and won't tell me the truth or just laughs in my face when I bring it up because it's apparently trivial.’
    • ‘This source was schtummed when Julia posted a scathing rebuke on the thread, really very angry.’
    • ‘It's when it gets to the literature type of questions which totally schtums me, I mean I haven't got a clue.’


1950s: Yiddish, from German stumm.