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The phrase is probably a shortened form of " shut up your mouth " or " shut your mouth up ". Its use is generally considered rude and impolite, and may also considered a form of profanity by some. Before the twentieth century, the phrase "shut up" was rarely used as an imperative, and had a different meaning altogether. To say that someone was "shut up" meant that they were locked up, quarantined , or held prisoner. For example, several passages in the King James Version of the Bible instruct that if a priest determines that a person shows certain symptoms of illness, "then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague of the scall seven days". The use of the phrase "shut up" to signify "hold one's tongue" or "compel silence" dates from the sixteenth century. However, Shakespeare's use of the phrase in King Lear is limited to a reference to the shutting of doors at the end of Scene II, with the characters of Regan and Cornwall both advising the King, "Shut up your doors".
The song was released independently for digital download in the United Kingdom on 11 September as the B-side to the "WickedSkengMan 4" single. The song initially entered at number 59 on the UK Singles Chart in September ; however, following an unsuccessful Christmas number one campaign, the song rose to number eight. The instrumental to the song was produced by grime producer XTC. Titled "Functions on the Low" and originally released by grime collective Ruff Sqwad in , it became one of the most well-known and popular grime instrumentals,  and was first vocalled by Discarda on his track "Havana". Due to the popularity of the song, a studio version was recorded and released alongside the "WickedSkengMan 4" single, which entered and peaked at number 18 on the UK Singles Chart. It became Stormzy's first top 40 entry. Skepta chose to invite a collective of grime MCs and British rappers to represent their music scene, and among these was Stormzy. Fellow artists Big Narstie and J Spades downplayed this achievement, calling Stormzy a "backup dancer" during the performance. As a result, Stormzy launched a Christmas number one campaign on 13 December to get the song to number one in order to rival with The X Factor winner's single " Forever Young " by Louisa Johnson. The freestyle video was shot by his fan in a South London car park.
Imprison, confine, enclose, as in The dog was shut up in the cellar for the night , or She shut up her memories and never talked about the past. Close completely, as in The windows were shut up tightly so no rain came in. Cause someone to stop speaking, silence someone, as in It's time someone shut him up. Stop speaking, as in I've told you what I think and now I'll shut up. This usage also occurs as a rather rude imperative, as in Shut up! You've said enough. Get a little extra practice with this fun quiz featuring words from Common Core books!