Do you ever have the need to tell someone to be quiet? In some situations, you might have to tell people to quieten down and stop talking just before someone is about to speak (in a presentation, a meeting or conference) or a play is about to start in the theatre. In those instances, you would politely ask people to stop talking.

However, there are many more situations when you don’t want to politely ask the person or people to stop talking, especially if they have really annoyed you or you are fed up with the noise they’re making or the things they are saying. In which case, the idioms below would come in extremely useful!

It’s a lot easier to be polite than impolite in a foreign language no matter how proficient you are in that language. I have had many a time when I have got angry with someone in Italy and found myself spluttering rude words in English rather than in Italian as my native language came more naturally in anger.

So, I wouldn’t expect you to be able to use these idioms naturally especially when angry, impatient or irritated. These idioms might instead be very helpful in trying to understand films and television as they are often used in dialogue. So let me explain.

And what better way to do this than to share this fabulous infographic prepared by Kaplan International. You can find this infographic on the Kaplan website. I love the creative and humorous way the idioms are shown here.

shhh! english idiomsKaplan International English

Here are some examples of how these idioms are used.

Please remember that these idioms are all used in an informal, and often impolite way, so do be careful when using them.
1.Put a sock in it (British English)
I’ve had enough of your moaning for one day. Why don’t you put a sock in it?

NB: You will often also hear “put a cork in it

2. Cork it
“Shhh, cork it and listen to him”.  (Put a cork in it is more widely used)

3. Button it
Button it, ok. I’m trying to think!”

4. Shut your pie hole (American English) or Shut your cake hole (British English)
“Just shut your pie hole, man.”
(As heard in the movie, Avatar)

Or you could simply tell someone to “shut it!”

5. Zip your lips or Zip it!
I’ve heard enough of your nonsense, mate. Now zip it!

6. Wind your neck in
“Why don’t you just wind your neck in for once and listen to what I have to say?”

7. Simmer down – this is not used in a rude, impolite way. It is used informally.
Ok, children. I need you all to simmer down and listen to Jason’s story.

8. Pipe down
“Come on, everyone. Pipe down or else you will all get detention!”


And so there you have it! 8 or more different ways to tell someone to shush. Do you know others? How many ways do you have in your language?

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I am now going to go off and have some “shhh” time to myself. Until the next time.

Ciao for now