Definition of shush in English:


Pronunciation /ʃʊʃ//ʃʌʃ/


  • Be quiet:

    ‘Shush! Do you want to wake everyone?’
    • ‘She glared at the well-built wrestler and decided against hurting him, ‘Oh shush!’’
    • ‘At one point, Harry giggles behind the camera and Diana says, ‘Harry shush!’’
    • ‘Rolling her eyes impatiently, ‘Oh, shush, will you!;’


  • 1An utterance of ‘shush’:

    ‘the thumps were followed by shushes from the aunts’
    • ‘Ryan yelled, there were various shushes from the others.’
    • ‘One of the students whispered to his friends, and a burst of laughter from them caused the teachers to glare at them, accompanied by a few shushes.’
    • ‘A simple hushed apology of ‘excuse me’ or ‘sorry’ when someone needed to pass by an audience member was met by shushes and evil stares.’
  • 2A soft swishing or rustling sound:

    ‘the ‘shush, shush, shush’ of a broom on the tent's groundsheet’
    • ‘There were a few shushes from the people around us and quickly shushed up, diverting out attention back to the movie.’
    • ‘Yallac followed suit, lying on her back and gazing up at the endless expanse of stars, listening to the shushing of the water on the cliffs.’


  • 1[with object] Tell or signal (someone) to be silent:

    ‘she shushed him with a wave’
    • ‘Pixie shushes me and says ‘I'm worried about that noise.’’
    • ‘After The Beatles' first set he shushes the audience and says ‘Now be quiet.’’
    • ‘I opened my mouth to berate him, but he shushed me.’
    • ‘A woman answered giggling and shushing someone to silence before speaking.’
    • ‘As I chatted to Paul over a glass of bubbly, we were shushed by a grumpy old woman.’
    • ‘I scrambled to shush her, but this is my sister's regular speaking voice. She sat down and looked around.’
    • ‘All at once, Kathy became quiet and shushed him, too.’
    • ‘I put a finger to my lips, shushing her immediately.’
    • ‘The woman who was my mother held me and tried to shush me.’
    • ‘Allie shushed her aunt and blushed at the same time.’
    • ‘My three year-old cousin on the other hand, does not appreciate the humour or my laughing, so she promptly shushes me and returns to her trace-like state of staring at the TV.’
    • ‘She stated, holding a finger up to her lips as if shushing him.’
    • ‘Lily started to speak but Joe raised one finger to shush her.’
    • ‘They started to shush me and told me to be quiet or I wouldn't hear her crying.’
    • ‘She shushed him and signalled for him to move back to the other side of the battlements.’
    • ‘One of the men stepped forward, holding up one hand, shushing his buddies.’
    • ‘I'm quite bad at regulating my voice, as many people who've publicly shushed me can attest.’
    • ‘Mika shushed him and did the quiet finger gesture.’
    • ‘The other two shushed him quickly, then they shut the door behind them.’
    • ‘Instead I lifted a single finger at him as if to shush him.’
    1. 1.1[no object] Become or remain silent:
      ‘Beth told her to shush’
      • ‘My inner voice, still remained a loud, enthusiastic, untrained child, frequently shushed and disciplined to sit still.’
      • ‘Now shush and plug in the hair dryer - I've got some hair to toss!’
      • ‘Riggs cut her off with a shushing, knowing very well that it was impossible to make his own voice louder than hers, considering the state of things.’
      • ‘‘Oh shush,’ Ana said throwing her brush at her and attaching the other earring.’
      • ‘There were swarms of people there, too, all loud and obnoxious despite the librarian's furious shushing, but I'd learned long ago to ignore all of that.’
      • ‘The maid smirked, ‘I know you don't care about what they think at all, so shush.’’
      • ‘‘Oh shush,’ his mother scolded him before pointing at his food.’
      • ‘The doormen actually intercept approaching revellers in the street outside the club, asking them to shush.’
      • ‘I was told to shush and I was being punched in the face.’
      • ‘If word got out about what's to be found at Bay Area libraries, there'd be a whole lot more shushing going on.’
      • ‘There is a drunk dyke heckler whom everyone shushes.’
      • ‘The women are whispering and the men shushing and telling everyone to sit down - they've never seen a drama like this before.’
      • ‘Thelma Lou runs to him, holds him, shushes in his ear.’
      • ‘I'm singing out loud and the kids are telling me to shush.’
      • ‘I have tried glaring and have even gone on to shush - but with barely increased effect.’
      • ‘The display would likely be greeted by pandemonium, emphatic shushing, or shocked silence.’
      • ‘My generation didn't have to calm our babies after feeding; we nursed them to sleep, which takes less time than bouncing, wrapping, shushing, and pacifying.’
      fall silent, stop talking, break off, become quiet, quieten down, grow silent, shush, hold one's tongue
      View synonyms
  • 2[no object, usually with adverbial of direction] Move with or make a soft swishing or rustling sound:

    ‘I stood to watch a big liner shushing slowly past’
    ‘she could hear the gentle shushing of the waves’
    • ‘There were hardly any waves just a gentle shushing on the pebbles of the beach.’
    • ‘It annoyed Nyte, keeping him up with the shushing of the wind in the nearby aspens and the constant patter-patter of rain on the roof.’
    • ‘Dining on the beach, surf shushing over the nearby reef, my biggest dilemma is which of five lobster menu options to select.’
    • ‘The only noise besides the birds or the ice crackling along the streambeds is the shushing sound of my feet across the snow.’
    • ‘The battle hits all of Hollywood's cues for what warfare is supposed to look and sound like, including tracers, shushing, exploding shells and gore.’
    • ‘I grinned as I lay back while the sleigh shushed through the countryside: pity they weren't bigger.’
    • ‘There's a field above my house where the only sounds are eagles above and wind shushing through grass and pine below.’
    • ‘A few cars passed through the lonely yellow of the street lights, their tires making soft shushing sounds on the wet pavement.’
    • ‘I heard footsteps downstairs on the first floor and it sounded like Gorey speaking in a shushed sort of voice.’
    • ‘The wind in the trees, waves shushing on the shore, birdsong or the rustle of long grass.’


1920s: imitative.