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Shut-in is a hyphenated compound word. We will examine the meaning of the word shut-in, its etymology, and some examples of its use in a sentence or two.

A shut-in is an invalid, someone who is incapacitated and confined to his room or his home for an extended period of time. A shut-in cannot partake in normal activities and/or must stay sequestered from others. The word shut-in came into use at the turn of the twentieth century. When rendered as two, unhyphenated words, shut in, the term is considered a verb phrase that means to be enclosed in a location.


Before the meal was served, center director Karen McLaughlin praised her staff, who managed to deliver thousands of meals to shut-in seniors despite the long COVID closure. (Suffolk Times)

“My wife is somewhat of a shut-in and reads an awful lot of books, so it’s been very helpful to us,” said longtime Shelby County Library patron Don White. (Spectrum News)

However, don’t be a shut-in if you do feel it is safe to go outside and interact with people again. (Independent)