Middle English shitten, sheten, "close (a door, window, gate, etc.); lock, fasten closed," from Old English scyttan "to put (a bolt) in place so as to fasten a door or gate, bolt, shut to; discharge, pay off," from West Germanic *skutjan (source also of Old Frisian schetta, Middle Dutch schutten "to shut, shut up, obstruct"), from PIE root *skeud- "to shoot, chase, throw." Related: Shutting.
The meaning "to close by folding or bringing together" is from mid-14c. That of "prevent ingress and egress" is from mid-14c. The sense of "to set (someone) free (from)," by c. 1500, is obsolete except in dialectal phrases such as get (or be) shut of (attested by 1570s). To shut (one's) mouth "desist from speaking" is recorded from mid-14c.
As a past-participle adjective, "made fast, closed, enclosed," by late 15c. As a noun, "action, time, or place of shutting," by 1660s.
updated on September 22, 2022