In order to be fluent in Spanish, you need to be able to perform in different daily life situations such as being able to say shut up. For that reason, in this list, we’ve compiled a list of 7 ways to say ‘shut up’ in Spanish.
All of these expressions are very popular in all Spanish speaking countries and have the same purpose. However, be aware that their degree of formality or rudeness will vary. So make sure you read the descriptions and the examples so you choose the best option for you.
By the end of this, you will have added popular and useful expressions to your vocabulary. And on top of being able to ask others to be quiet, if someone asks you how to say ‘shut up’ in Spanish, you will be able to help them.
1. Cállate – Shut up / Shut it
Since cállate is the direct translation of ‘shut up’, it’s the most standard and one of the most common ways to ask someone to shut up in Spanish. ‘Cállate’ is one of the imperative forms of the verb ‘callarse’ and it addresses one person (you).
So if you need to tell a group of people to ‘shut up’, you will need to use the imperative form cállense. Just like other expressions from this list, the intensity and rudeness of ‘cállate’ will depend on the speaker’s tone of voice.
Additionally, in informal contexts, this expression can also be translated as ‘shut it’. Here are some examples of how to use this expression to ask someone to shut up.
[Callarse imperative form]
¡Joel, cállate! No me dejas escuchar la tele
Shut up, Joel! I can’t hear the TV
¡Ya cállate, mejor! Solo dices puras tonterías
You better shut up, you’re just saying nonsense
Oigan, cállense, mi papá está en una reunión
Hey, shut up, my dad is in a meeting
Niños, cállense, su hermanita está dormida
Kids, shut up, your baby sister is sleeping
Since it’s using the imperative form, cállate or cállense can be perceived as too demanding or aggressive. As a result, some Spanish speakers may choose to conjugate the verb ‘callarse’ in the form of a question. This option is especially useful if you don’t have the familiarity or the confidence to ask someone to shut up.
A ver, jóvenes, ¿si se callan, por favor? Estamos en clase
Children, can you keep quiet, please? We’re in class
Take Note: Cállate and cállense (plural) come from the reflexive verb ‘callarse’. As a result, in order to use this verb properly, you need to make sure to follow the rules for conjugating reflexive verbs in Spanish.
2. Silencio – Silence
Silencio is a more polite and formal way to say ‘shut up’ in Spanish. The advantage of this word is that you can use it without referring to or addressing someone in particular. As a result, it’s very appropriate for groups of more than one person.
However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot use it with one person: just keep in mind that ‘silencio’ is one of the more formal ways to say ‘shut up’ in Spanish.
As a formal and more polite expression, ‘silencio’ can also be used with people that you don’t know. Additionally, it’s commonly used in classrooms and meetings.
A ver, allá atrás, silencio
Hey, those in the back, silence
¡Silencio, por favor! No nos dejan escuchar
Silence, please! We cannot hear
Chicas, silencio, estamos en medio de la clase
Girls, silence, we’re in the middle of class
Silencio, cuando termine de hablar puedes decir lo que quieras
Silence, when I finish talking you can say whatever you want
Por favor, les voy a pedir silencio porque no dejan descansar a los demás
Please, I’m going to ask you to be silent because you don’t let other people rest
Take Note: Silencio is an impersonal expression. In other words, it doesn’t refer to someone in particular. Therefore, you can use it when you don’t know exactly who is speaking or making noise.
3. Cierra la boca – Shut your mouth / Shut your trap
If you’re wondering how to say ‘shut up’ in informal Spanish, cierra la boca could be your best option. Even though it’s a casual expression, ‘cierra la boca’ is very well-known in all Spanish-speaking countries.
This phrase can be translated as ‘shut your trap’ or ‘shut it’.
When using this expression, keep in mind that ‘cierra la boca’ not only expresses that you want people to shut up, but it also shows your frustration for this particular situation. As a result, it can be considered too intense or aggressive.
Additionally, cierra la boca has the following variation. Both expressions are perfect for informal situations, so choosing one or the other will depend on your preferences.
- Cierra el pico – Shut it
[Cerrar conjugated] + la boca / el pico
¿Por qué no cierras la boca? No sabes lo que dices
Why don’t you shut your trap? You don’t know what you’re saying
Cierra la boca, Sandy, ya estoy harta de tus comentarios
Shut your mouth, Sandy, I’m sick of your comments
Carlos, Emmanuel, cierren la boca, su mamá está hablando
Carlos, Emmanuel, shut your trap, guys, your mom is talking
¡Cierra el pico si no sabes de lo que estás hablando!
If you don’t know what you’re talking about, shut it!
Cierra el pico, Claudia, nadie te pidió tu opinión
Shut it, Claudia, nobody asked for your opinion
4. ¿Por qué no te callas? – Why don’t you just shut up?
¿Por qué no te callas? is another popular way to say ‘shut up’ in Spanish. Even though this expression has the form of a question, ‘¿por qué no te callas?’ is not very polite since it implies the speaker’s frustration.
For this reason, this phrase can be considered a bit rude or aggressive. As a result, it’s more commonly used in conversational and informal contexts. ‘¿Por qué no te callas?’ is the direct translation of ‘why don’t you just shut up?’.
¿Por qué + no + [callarse conjugated]?
Si tanto te molesta, ¿por qué mejor no te callas?
If it upsets you that much, why don’t you just shut up?
No sabes lo que dices, ¿por qué mejor no te callas?
You don’t know what you’re saying, why don’t you just shut up?
Mark, ¿por qué no te callas ya? Sólo vas a causar problemas
Mark, why don’t you just shut up now? You’ll only cause problems
Oigan, ¿por qué no se callan y dejan que María nos explique?
Hey, guys, why don’t you just shut up and let Maria explain?
Take Note: In this situation, you have the option to add the word mejor as a way to intensify your expression. However, notice that this new element doesn’t affect the translation. This is because, in this case, mejor doesn’t have a meaning since it’s main purpose is to intensify the phrase.
5. Guarden silencio – Be quiet / Shut up
Even though this expression is another imperative phrase, guarden silencio is one of the most polite, formal and non-aggressive ways to say ‘shut up’ in Spanish. Depending on the situation, this expression could be translated as:
- Be quiet
- Keep quiet
- Shut up
- Keep silent
- Remain silent
As a formal expression, ‘guarden silencio’ is mostly used in formal contexts such as institutions, schools and places like that. Additionally, notice that this expression is referring to a group of people, but you can also make some modifications to address an individual.
Here are some examples of how to use ‘shut up’ in Spanish with this expression:
[Guardar imperative form] + silencio
Chicos, guarden silencio, por favor
Guys, be quiet, please
Señora, guarde silencio, por favor, estamos en un hospital
Madam, remain silent, please, we’re in a hospital
Guarda silencio, Christina, estamos en medio de un examen
Be quiet, Christina, we’re in the middle of a test
Por favor, guarden silencio durante la película
Please, keep silent during the movie
6. Cállate la boca – Shut your mouth
Cállate la boca is a casual and cutesy way to say ‘shut up’ in Spanish. Due to its redundancy, this expression is not very aggressive or demanding. As a result, it’s a polite and funny way to ask someone to ‘shut up’. Just keep in mind that this expression is more appropriate for informal situations.
Depending on the context, ‘cállate la boca’ can be translated either as ‘shut your mouth’ or ‘shut your trap’.
Liz, cállate la boca y déjame hablar
Liz, shut your mouth and let me talk
Niño, cállate la boca y deja de decir malas palabras
Boy, shut your mouth and stop cursing
¡Cállense la boca! Están diciendo puras tonterías
Shut your mouth! You’re only speaking nonsense
No entiendo por qué dices esto, mejor cállate la boca
I don’t understand why you say that, you better shut your trap
Take Note: Be aware that cállate la boca can also be used in other contexts as a way to show surprise or disbelief. Make sure to pay attention to the context.
¿Ganaste la lotería? ¡Cállate la boca!
Did you win the lottery? Shut your mouth!
7. Chitón – Shush
Chitón is a Spanish casual expression that people use as a way to ask someone to ‘shut up’. This word can be translated as ‘shush’ or ‘shh’. Although it’s a very common word, ‘chitón’ is the most informal expression on this list.
As a result, it will only be suitable for casual situations such as asking a friend or relative to shut up. Here are some examples of how to use ‘chitón’.
No quiero seguir hablando de esto, chitón
I don’t want to keep talking about this, shush
Niños, chitón, su papá está hablando por teléfono
Kids, shush, your dad is on the phone
Chitón, estoy viendo la televisión
Shh, I’m watching TV
Chitón, morra, quiero estudiar y no me dejas
Shush, girl, I want to study and you won’t let me
When learning a second language, not finding the right words to express your feelings or what you need people to do can be very frustrating. For that reason, in this article, we compiled 7 different ways to say shut up in Spanish.
We learned that, even though all of these expressions can be used to ask someone to ‘shut up’ in Spanish, some of them will be more suitable for informal or formal situations.
Additionally, some phrases may be less aggressive or intense than others. As a result, you need to make sure to use the best option for your situation.
Now, you not only know how to say ‘shut up’ in Spanish, but you also have 7 expressions to choose from. So go out there and start putting them into practice. Good luck!