• Shut up

I heard a lot of native speakers saying this phrasal verb with their friends. But what I noticed, though, was that they didn’t mean it literally.

What meaning does it give when it doesn’t mean to **stop talking”?

  • People can say, I shut up shop, meaning that they closed their store. But they wouldn't mean that if they used only those two words. Nov 26, 2018 at 3:00

1 Answer 1


For this AmE speaker, amongst friends, "shut up" could be used to indicate incredulity with what someone had said. For example:

  • Friend: You'll never believe who I saw buying a frappuccino at Starbucks today.
  • Me: Who?
  • Friend: Justin Bieber!
  • Me: Shut up!
  • Friend: No, really! He got it with 2% milk.

In this case, I would be indicating surprise that my friend had seen Justin Bieber in the flesh.

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