Please just shut up! There are some extreme situations when you arrive at the point that you can't stand the speech of someone anymore and all you want to say is zip your mouth! It is not the best of situations but just in case you need to say it in French, here is how to say shut up in the French language. Keep on reading to find out more.
1. Silence - keep quiet
Silence can be used in several contexts. For instance, a teacher can say silence when he wants the pupils to remain quiet in the classroom.
Silence can also be used to request quietness in places with a crowd: at the library, or in a conference room,... You will sometimes hear in French " on va observer une minute de silence" which means that we are going to observe one-minute silence. In general, this sentence is used to pay tribute to someone deceased.
2. Tais-toi ! - shut up
The verb used for shut up in French is the reflexive se taire. The imperative form is used to say shut up! Depending on your relationship, you might say tais-toi or taisez-vous. Remember that there is a difference between tu and vous. You can make it followed by the polite basic phrase s'il vous plaît or s'il te plaît as a way of begging for quietness.
3. Ferme ta gueule - Shut your mouth
The word gueule is mostly used for the mouth of some animals. So, when someone says "ta gueule" that means it is kind of an insult.
Ferme ta gueule is a French slang, equivalent to shutting your mouth or zipping your mouth.
4. Ferme-la or boucle-la - Close your mouth
Ferme-la or boucle-la are alternatives to ferme ta gueule. The pronoun la is there to replace la bouche (mouth) or la gueule.
Boucle la comes from the verb boucler which means to close with a key. We will most likely say in French, boucle la porte which means close the door. So, boucle-la means literally closing your mouth just like "ferme ta bouche". However, you should use these two expressions with tact as it is kind of rude to say that.
No time to read everything? Pin this⬇ for later.
5. Chut! - The equivalent of the English shhh!
If you want to say gently to someone to stay quiet, without having to speak a lot, you can use the French onomatopoeia chut. Just the sound of it will make the person stop speaking unless you are dealing for instance with naughty kids. Note that saying Chut is not that rude.
6. Tiens ta langue - hold your month (refrain from speaking)
La langue or the tongue is the body part used to speak. When someone tells you tiens ta langue, it means in a French context, to hold your mouth or refrain from speaking. There is even this common idiom that uses this expression: "savoir tenir sa langue". "Ne pas avoir la langue dans sa poche" is also another way of saying that someone speaks a lot and may not be able to keep a secret.
7. Motus et bouche cousue
Bouche cousue is an idiom from the 15th century that can be translated as "sewn mouth'.
The word motus is not actually a Latin word as a lot of people might think but a funny transformation of the word mot according to La Langue française by Le figaro. Motus has been used alone and meant "chut! pas un mot" => Shhh not a single word! It was used since the 16th century.
The combined expression Motus et bouche cousue is more recent and is mostly used when you don't want someone to say something and usually, you will say it while whispering. For instance, if you are planning a surprise and you want it to be kept secret, you can just say motus et bouche cousue and French people will understand that you want some discretion.
To wrap it up
Now, you have more alternatives to say shut up in French and it's time to try using them whenever it is possible.
If you want to take your learning further, we suggest Lingoda for online group classes or private classes. Their classes are affordable (10 to 12 euros per one hour group class), well structured according to CEFR guidelines, with a communicative approach that gets you quickly comfortable speaking. You can join their next challenge, the Lingoda Sprint. If you commit to taking 1 class a day for 2 months (60 classes), without missing any class, you get 100% cashback. and if you choose to take a class every two days (30 classes), you will get 50% cashback.
This is a great way to accelerate your learning with intensive classes. However, this is not for everyone. If you can't commit daily, you better join their regular classes. that you can try for free here.
In case you like fun learning, our best recommendation would be Lingopie. Their subtitles and flashcard features make it easier for you to develop your vocabulary and listening skills while having fun watching your favorite TV show or movie. They have a 7-day free trial if you would like to test the platform.