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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ The office provides services for shut-ins and elderly people in Cook County.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"person confined from normal social intercourse," 1904, from the verbal phrase, from shut (v.) + in (adv.).


a. 1 confined to a location, as by infirmity or illness. 2 introverted. n. A person confined to a location, as by illness or infirmity.

  1. adj. somewhat introverted [syn: introvertish]

  2. confined usually by illness [syn: homebound, housebound]

  3. n. someone who is incapacitated by a chronic illness or injury [syn: invalid]


Shut-in may refer to:

  • Shut-in (river), a river that's naturally confined within a deep, narrow channel
  • A shut-in is a person confined indoors, especially as a result of physical or mental disability agoraphobia. See also recluse.
  • Shutting-in, in the petroleum industry, is the implementation of a production cap lower than the available output at a particular site.
  • Shut In (2016 film)
Shut-in (river)

A shut-in is an Ozark term for a river that is naturally confined within a deep, narrow channel. The river becomes unnavigable even by canoe due to the rapids and narrow channels produced as the stream encounters a more resistant rock that is more difficult to erode. In the Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park in Missouri, hard rhyolite and a diabase dike divert the stream into many small streamlets following a complex joint system, "shutting" the river.

The term has an origin in Appalachia, where it was used to refer to a narrow river gorge confined by resistant rock layers.

Examples can be found in Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park in Missouri, where the Black River has become confined in a shut-in. More than ninety other "shut–ins" occur within and around the St. Francois Mountains region of southeast Missouri.

In southern Illinois, the Burden Falls Wilderness area includes a narrow canyon below a waterfall that is confined by a resistant sandstone layer. The gorge is referred to as a shut–in, following the Appalachian usage for the term.

Shut-in (oil drilling)

In the petroleum industry, shutting-in is the implementation of a production cap set lower than the available output of a specific site. This may be part of an attempt to constrict the oil supply or a necessary precaution when crews are evacuated ahead of a natural disaster.

Usage examples of "shut-in".

Zaac Tepal, of the shut-in homes and the narrow thoughts of my people of the Aca.

An allergy to flags or eagles would have reduced her to shut-in status: a species of semiotic agoraphobia.

As he entered the footpath leading from the prairie toward the house, he was forced to stoop to avoid the curtain of flowering moonvine which hung overhead, and once in the path he felt again the sickening drowsiness of the shut-in air.

He explained, and Allport said, “With the thing about the Tampax and the cat litter, it don’t sound like she was taking food to a shut-in.

Mrs Hersey told police officers that her aunt was a shut-in and is in poor health.