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One of the best known ways to say ‘shut up’ in Japanese is urusai / うるさい. This versatile word also has the definitions of ‘noisy’, ‘annoying’ and ‘irritating’ but we guarantee using urusai with a loud voice will get anyone to tone it down a little… or a lot!
There’s something about Japanese and describing things that are so loud that they are unpleasant. It probably comes from the fact that in Japan people do tend to enjoy silence and a quiet atmosphere.
You will notice that the word ‘noisy’ often crops up when we look at these words for ‘shut up’ in Japanese. That’s because anything loud and boisterous in Japan warrants a good old ‘shut up’ – whether it’s a person or an object!
So if you want to sound like a native speaker you’ll need to be able to tell anyone or anything to zip it. Whether it’s that construction work going on next door or someone disturbing the peace, here are some colourful ways to say ‘shut up’ in Japanese.
Shut up, noisy, annoying, irritating, loud
Urusai /うるさい is a common way to tell someone to ‘shut up’ in Japanese and can be both rude and playful.
The cool thing about urusai is that it has a few different meanings so it can be used in many contexts.
For example, if you were trying to concentrate on doing a task and you had a friend beside you who was poking fun at you, you could say urusai yo/うるさいよ to tell them ‘shut up’ or leave you alone in a joking way.
On the other hand, urusai is also the word of choice when a teacher is fed up with a noisy classroom. In this situation, it’s much more aggressive, so if a teacher says urusai yo! to the class, they’re probably a little angry.
Urusai is not only a command for someone to shut up. It can also be a statement for a person, animal or an object that is uncomfortably loud.
That’s right, you can use urusai for absolutely anything that is so noisy it makes you feel agitated. It doesn’t have to be a person; you can say urusai to express your frustration towards a pack of dogs barking or a machine.
For example, there’s a lawnmower going off close to your bedroom window and you’re trying to get some sleep. You might find relief for your frustration by growling mou urusain da yo / もううるさいんんだよ!
Men will often use the masculine slang form uruse / うるせ, instead of urusai, which makes it sound more aggressive.
Shut up! (Shut the hell up)
Next up we have damare / 黙れ, which is pretty rude and means shut up but can also be the equivalent to shut the **** up in some cases.
Damare comes from the verb damaru / 黙る meaning ‘to be silent’ or ‘say nothing’.
Damare is considered a bad word in Japanese. Just take note that it can also be like a swear word, so be careful how you use it.
Damare is often heard in anime and manga including with its te form as in damatte! If you want to soften damare a little, you could say damatte kudasai / 黙ってください (shut up please)、but it’s still a harsh phrase because damare is impolite.
This is a word you would use if you were in a fight with someone and you really want to insult the other person.
If you want to be as polite as possible when asking someone to ‘shut up’ in Japanese, you can use shizuka ni / 静かに。Shizuka means ‘quiet’ but it’s often used with the に particle and the verb for to do, suru / する.
You just add the verb suru in it’s て form to the end of the phrase, as in shizuka ni shite / 静かにして(be quiet) or shizuka ni shite kudasai / 静かにしてください (be quiet please).
A lot of parents use shizuka ni shite with children, as do teachers with students when they want to calm them down a little. You can add ne / ね to the end to make it more casual and a little softer as in shizuka ni shite ne / 静かにしてね.
You can also make shizuka ni more aggressive. If you want to say ‘shut up’ without using damare or urusai, you can use the imperative form of suru and say shizuka ni shiro! / 静かにしろ! Be careful, it’s almost just as rude though.
O-kuchi ni chakku
Zip it (literally: Zip your lips)
A cute way of saying ‘shut up’ in Japanese is o-kuchi ni chakku which means zip your lips.
Chakku means ‘zip’ and even though o-kuchi means ‘mouth’ it’s an expression that means the lips here and is often used by parents to get children to be quiet.
Noisy, too loud
Yakamashii is a bit of an old-fashioned word but it’s worth a mention because like the first word on our list, urusai, it can be used as an adjective to describe something that is loud, noisy and irritating.
Even though it’s less common than urusai and not used much these days, yakamashii is sometimes used to express frustration when something is unbearably loud or irritating.
You can say yakamashii to express to the person or thing how disturbing they are and that they should stop the noise, without directly saying ‘shut up’.
Yakamashii is also used in Japanese to describe someone who is fussy or picky about something.
Bonus Regional Word for Shut Up in Japanese:
Sekarashii/Sekarashi ka (From Kyuushu)
You are noisy
And last but not least we have sekarashii / せからしい but more colloquially sekarashi ka / せからしか, a word meaning ‘shut up’ in Kyushu dialect. It is said that sekarashii was first used in Fukuoka and Kumamoto during the Muromachi period.
Variants of sekarashii may be heard as far as Kansai down to Kyuushu.
Like urusai and yakamashii, sekarashi ka is an adjective referring to something that is so overwhelmingly noisy and annoying, it needs an exclamation.
Sekarashii can also mean ‘troublesome’ and ‘busy’ depending on the region.
How to say shut up in Japanese
So now you know 6 different ways to say shut up in Japanese. You’ll always be equipped with the right words to tell someone to zip it, whether you want to be polite… or downright rude!
Ready to take the next step in your Japanese language journey? Our recommended online course is JapanesePod101.
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Francesca is a freelance copywriter and teacher, who moved to Tokyo from New Zealand at age 24. A linguistics and ESL major, she spent 3 years teaching at an all-boys high school. Now based in France, she remains a self-confessed Japanophile who loves kanji, cooking, cats and the outdoors.