Become an affiliate partner and earn attractive commission.



Shut Up in Sign Language – Video & Image Included


Lead Academy

4 Mins Read

Today we’ll look at how to say Shut Up in sign language. If you’re familiar with visual languages like sign language, you already know how they incorporate hand gestures to visualise different vocabulary.

But do you know that facial expression is equally important in visual languages?

Before we move on to our main discussion, let’s preface it with our question above.

Shut Up is such a phrase where the facial expression will add the emotion you’re trying to convey and colour up the whole conversation.

Your facial expression is very much capable of conveying that emotion and the level of your current emotional sentiment. Depending on the situation here, you may be annoyed, borderline angry, or so pissed off that you’re trying hard to control your anger outburst. As such, your facial expression will also come out as strong.

However, if it’s more like a gentle Shut Up, then your facial expression will be consistently soft and gentle.

One other thing we want to add here is the fact that all sign languages are different. Learning to say Shut Up in sign language BSL (British Sign Language) may not match any other sign language you’ll encounter in your life. So the vocabulary is not transferable, even after being a visual language.

On top of that, BSL signs are two-handed and quite unlike other visual languages like American Sign Language or ASL signs. They may share the same spoken language but their sign languages are unique.

With that said, let’s get back to our main discussion: how to say shut up in British Sign Language?

Shut Up in Sign Language

View the videos that we linked below. There are several varieties. We acknowledge that these might be confusing. But don’t be concerned. Just go through them once. You’ll have a better concept of what we’re doing here.

Watch how to sign ‘shut up’ in British Sign Language

Look at this first version of the phrase “Shut up”. Consider the following sentence and its implied meaning:

We shut up as soon as the teacher entered the classroom.

So let’s show you how you would sign this version of the phrase.

BSL tutor seated in a room with blue background

1. Start with a normal posture.

BSL tutor seated in a room with a blue background, has his right hand raised with all fingers straight

2. Raise your right hand. If your left hand is your dominant hand, you can use that to sign the phrase too. Just don’t switch your hand mid-sign.

BSL tutor seated in a room with his right hand raised, all fingers straight and close to his face

3. So, raise the hand to the top of your lips. Keep your fingers and thumb all spread out, pointing your thumb on top as in the picture above.
4. Say the word as you’re signing it.

So there you have it, the first rendition of the phrase. Let us now look at the second variant. This is the two-handed variant of the phrase. However, we use this phrase a bit differently. We use it to tell someone to stop talking. Consider the following sentence.

Shut up! I’m trying to concentrate.

Let’s now see how we sign this phrase.

1. Start with a normal posture again.

Final posture Shut Up with both hand
Now roll away both your hands.

2. See the picture above. The guy here closes the fingers with two ‘O’ shapes. His index finger and the thumb is making the shapes here and his thumb is pressed against the other. Mimic the gesture.

3. Now roll away both your hands. See the video again if you need some reference.

4. Remember to say the word when you’re signing it.


So, that’s how we say Shut Up in sign language. As you can see, the phrase has two distinct meanings. One of them requires both of our hands to sign, while the other does not. This is why visibility is so important in sign language, particularly in BSL, where many words need us to sign with both hands. If your audience can’t see you well, they’ll become confused or, worse, mistake the phrase for something nasty. If your conversational flow allows it, maintain a lovely smile at all times. A simple, charming smile will let you easily connect with your audience.

What to Read Next:



Like This Article?

Share it on social.