Do you need someone to pipe down? Then you need to know the best way to tell someone to shut up in Spanish!
As in English, we really need to choose our words carefully when we’re asking someone to be quiet in Spanish. From the softest shhhh, to an abrupt talk to the hand!, there’s a similar range of expressions in Spanish for shut up.
Remember, of course, that the tone also comes through your voice. You’re more likely to shout shut your hole! than whisper it, right?
In this post we’ll introduce you to 27 expressions we use to ask people to shut up in Spanish, ranging from polite to rude. We’ll start with the softest ones, and work our way up to angry yelling. So quiet down now, and let’s get to it!
¿Puedes bajar la voz, por favor?
Can you keep your voice down, please?
This is the ubiquitous way to ask a person or some people to be quiet. It is very formal. If you don’t know someone very well and need them to be quiet, this expression is perfect.
If you’re asking a group of people you’ll use the plural: ¿Pueden bajar la voz, por favor?
- Hello, excuse me, can you keep your voice down? – Hola, disculpa, ¿puedes bajar la voz?
- Hey students! Can you keep your voices down, please? – ¡Hey estudiantes! ¿Pueden bajar sus voces, por favor?
Baja la voz por favor
Keep your voice down, please
This is pretty similar to the previous one, but in the imperative to tell people to keep their voices down rather than ask them to. It is a very polite way to ask for silence. It is frequently used in libraries, churches, and other public spaces where silence is required.
To tell a group of people to keep their voices down you’ll use the plural: Bajen la voz por favor.
- Keep your voices down, please. Remember you are taking an exam. – Bajen la voz por favor. Recuerden que están presentando un examen.
- Keep your voice down, please. I can’t focus. – Baja la voz, por favor. No puedo concentrarme.
Do you recognize this one? It’s not so much a word as a quiet sound to encourage people to be quiet. Shhh is used the same way in Spanish as in English, often combined with other expressions.
Shhh! Stop talking! – ¡Shhh! ¡Deja de hablar!
Shhh! Silence, please – ¡Shhh! ¡Silencio, por favor!
¡Chito! is very common, and very similar to ¡shhh! Once again, you can combine this sound with other expressions.
- Shush! Keep your voice down! – ¡Chito! ¡Baja tu voz!
- Shush! We can’t study our lesson because of you – ¡Chito! No podemos estudiar la lección por tu culpa.
¡Silencio, por favor!
This expression may be the most common to ask someone to be quiet. You can use this in a polite context, though if you use it strongly and with a firm tone, everyone will understand you are mad.
- Silence, please, and pay attention. – Silencio, por favor, y presten atención.
- This is the last time I’m going to say it: silence, please! – Esta será la última vez que lo voy a decir: ¡silencio, por favor!
Haz silencio, por favor
Be quiet, please
This one translates literally as a command to make silence, please, since we use the verb “hacer” in the imperative. Here we’re moving on from the more-polite expressions we’ve seen so far, as with this one we’re being much firmer in our demand for silence.
Remember that when addressing a group, we use the plural form of the imperative: ¡Hagan silencio, por favor!
- Hey! Be quiet please. – ¡Hey! Hagan silencio, por favor.
- Please be quiet, and continue with the activity. – Hagan silencio, por favor, y continúen con la actividad.
Guarda silencio, por favor
Keep silent, please
This is another imperative to ask politely but firmly for people to be quiet. It is used a lot in classrooms.
For addressing a group, we use the plural form of the imperative: Guarden silencio, por favor.
- Keep silent, please, and listen to me for a minute. – Guarda silencio, por favor y escúchame un momento.
- Keep silent and behave yourself. – Guarda silencio, y compórtate.
Hush!, Hush up!, Enough already!
Have you ever been listening to a person talk and talk and talk, and you get bored and just want them to stop talking already? In Spanish we have the perfect response: ¡Calla! There isn’t quite such an ideal phrase in English, so let’s just consider that we’re essentially telling our friend to shut up but extra politely. Hush up!
- Enough already! You’re talking so much! – ¡Calla! Estás hablando mucho!
- Hush up! Your story is so dull – ¡Calla! Tu historia es muy aburrida.
Muérdete la lengua
Hold your tongue
Similarly to the English version, this expression is used to stop someone from saying something inappropriate. Muérdete la lengua translates literally as bite your tongue, which also has the same meaning in English.
This command is in the imperative, so if you want to tell multiple people to bite their tongues you’ll need to use the plural imperative form of the verb morderse, though we still just mention a single tongue: muérdanse la lengua.
Don’t say anything! Hold your tongue! – ¡No digas nada! ¡Muérdete la lengua!
Hold your tongue! Don’t tell that secret. – Muérdete la lengua y no cuentes ese secreto.
Be quiet!, Silence!
This is commonly used in the academic environment, and you know what it’s about, right? Remember when you were a kid and talking with your classmates in class, and the teacher always said, “be quiet!” or even “silence!” The same happens in Spanish with ¡silencio!
- Silence! We’re trying to listen to the professor! – ¡Silencio, nos dejan escuchar la profesora!
- Hey guys, be quiet! We are in an important class. – Chicos, ¡silencio!, estamos en una clase importante.
Quiet down!, Keep it quiet!
We’re getting stronger in our commands here. ¡Haz silencio! has the added subtlety of implying that in addition to telling someone to stop talking, you’re also suggesting they need to improve their behavior.
This expression is formed using the imperative of the verb “hacer,” so if we were to translate it literally we would be telling someone to do silence or make silence. If you’re addressing multiple people, you’ll need to use the plural imperative: ¡hagan silencio!
- Just quiet down and listen. – Solo haz silencio y escucha.
- Guys, keep it quiet till we get to our destination. – Chicos, hagan silencio hasta que lleguemos a nuestro destino.
Calm down!, Quiet down!
Similarly to ¡haz silencio!, ¡cálmate! includes an even stronger suggestion regarding behavior in addition to noise. You’ll hear this from a parent whose kid is running and screaming all over the place: ¡cálmate!
If you’re telling multiple people to calm down, you’ll need to use the plural form of the imperative for calmarse: ¡cálmense!
- Hey! Calm down and sit down here. – ¡Hey! Cálmate y siéntate aquí.
- Quiet down and listen to me! – ¡Cálmate y escúchame!
Dejen de parlotear
Quit chattering, Drop the chatter
This is commonly used for groups of people, like students in the classroom or employees in an office. Like in English, it also implies the notion of bad behavior, that the chatterers really ought to know better.
Dejen de parlotear is a command using the imperative form of the verb “dejar,” along with the infinitive of “parlotear,” which translates literally as “to chatter.” Alternative translations of the expression could therefore be drop the chatter or quit your chatter. Since chattering is necessarily among multiple people, we don’t really use this expression in the singular.
- Hey! All of you drop the chatter and open your notebooks. – ¡Hey! Todos ustedes dejen de parlotear y abran sus cuadernos.
- Our boss said we had to quit chattering and continue with our work. – Nuestro jefe dijo que teníamos que dejar de parlotear y continuar con nuestro trabajo.
Deja de hablar
This phrase is short and to the point, and translates pretty identically between English and Spanish. We’re definitely moving up on the rudeness scale with this one, though we can soften the tone by adding a por favor and speaking calmly.
Since deja de hablar uses the imperative form of dejar to tell someone to stop talking, when we tell multiple people we use the plural: dejen de hablar.
- Stop talking, please. I don’t feel like having a conversation right now. – Deja de hablar, por favor. No me siento bien para conversar ahora.
- Stop talking, Peter! I’m sick of you! – ¡Deja de hablar, Peter! ¡Estoy harto de ti!
¡Deja de hacer ruido!
Pipe down!, Stop that racket!
Literally, this is a command to stop making noise! Another way to say it is ¡deja de hacer bulla! This one is used not only to tell people to stop talking, but to stop all the noise in general because it’s becoming unbearable: Pipe down! Stop that racket!
Like with other imperatives, we can use the same commands on groups in plural form: ¡Dejen de hacer ruido! or ¡Dejen de hacer bulla!
- Oh my God! Pipe down! – ¡Dios mío! ¡Dejen de hacer bulla!
- Stop that racket right now or you’ll see the consequences! – ¡Dejen de hacer ruido, sino verán las consecuencias!
¡Háblale a la mano!
Talk to the hand!
At this point, we’re getting to the expressions for shut up in Spanish which can be considered rude. You probably wouldn’t appreciate having someone interrupt you while you’re talking, put their palm out in front of your face, and tell you to talk to the hand. Well, be careful when you use this one in Spanish too.
This expression really does come with the hand gesture I just described, giving it an even stronger rudeness factor. You use it when you’re in discussion with someone and you’ve heard enough that you just can’t take it any more. Although you might just want to tell them to shut up, the better response here is to lift up that hand, blocking the view of the talker’s face, with an abrupt ¡Háblale a la mano!
As a bonus, you can combine háblale a la mano with some of the other expressions we’re learning here! Just remember that you’re probably ending the conversation in a pretty negative way with this one.
- Shhh! Talk to the hand – ¡Shhh! ¡Háblale a la mano!
- Shut up! Talk to the hand! – ¡Cállate! ¡Háblale a la mano!
As you can see, we’re moving up on the rudeness scale here, even verging on the scream zone. Can you think of a context where you would say shut up quietly and calmly? Think of an over-stressed school teacher shouting this to a room of rambunctious kids. Or the girl yelling it at her annoying brother. Just watch out who you use it on, because a strong ¡cállate! may not be taken very well.
Cállate is the singular imperative form for shut up in Spanish, and probably the one you’ll hear most since it’s aimed at a single person. To yell at a group of people to shut up in Spanish, you’ll use the plural form: ¡cállense!
- Shut up, for God’s sake! – ¡Cállate, por el amor de Dios!
- Shut up, everyone! – ¡Cállense todos!
¿Por qué no te callas?
Why don’t you just shut up?
When cállate isn’t quite enough, you can get more elaborate with this rhetorical question. This one is generally used with a firm tone, spoken as a complaint. ¿Por qué no te callas?
To use this expression on a group of people, be sure to use the plural form: ¿Por qué no se callan?
- Why don’t you just shut up, Luisana? – ¿Por qué no te callas, Luisana?
- Why don’t all of you just shut up? – ¿Por qué no se callan todos ustedes?
¡Que te calles!
I said shut up!
Once you’ve tried a few of the other ways to tell someone to shut up in Spanish, and they still won’t pipe down, you can pull this one as a strong reminder that you meant it the first time: “I said, shut up!!!” Obviously, this one emphasizes that you’re mad. And it may even work because you’ll really catch everyone’s attention. ¡Que te calles!
As with the others, you can yell this one to a group of people by conjugating it in the plural form: ¡Que se callen!
- I said shut up! How many times am I going to say it? – ¡Que te calles! ¿Cuántas veces te lo voy a decir?
- ¡I said shut up! Listen to me and shut up! – ¡Que se callen! ¡Escúchenme y cállense!
¡Cállate la boca!
Shut your mouth!
This is similar to cállate, but a little more aggressive. So be careful when you use it, because it’s likely that whoever you’re yelling it at won’t take it so well.
In contrast to English where this expression is only really used in the singular, in Spanish we can also yell to a group of people to shut their mouths. You change the verb form to plural but still keep the mouth in singular: ¡cállense la boca!
- Shut your mouth, Pedro! – ¡Cállate la boca, Pedro!
- Shut your mouths! I don’t want to hear you guys anymore! – ¡Cállense la boca, no quiero escucharlos más!
¡Cierra el pico!
Shut your trap!, Shut your hole!
This expression is widespread among native Spanish speakers, translating literally as shut your beak. Like the comparable expressions in English where the mouth itself is directly insulted, ¡cierra el pico! is considered very rude and is mostly used when the speaker is already furious. Be careful when using this, because you’re bound to get an equally furious reaction in return.
- Shut your trap and quit talking to me! – ¡Cierra el pico y déjame hablar a mi!
- I don’t want to hear your voice anymore! Shut your hole! – ¡No quiero escucharte más, cierra el pico!
¡Cierra tu maldita boca!
Shut the f*#$ up!, Shut your f*#$ing mouth!
Finally, we’ve moved beyond rude here. This one is impossible to say gently. Watch out, if you’re not in a fight yet when you use this, you might be soon. Tensions are bound to be high when you yell at someone to shut their f*#$ing mouth. ¡Cierra tu maldita boca!
- Shut the f*#$ up and get out of here! – ¡Cierra tu maldita boca y largo de aquí!
- Shut the f*#$ up and get lost! – ¡Cierra tu maldita boca y piérdete!
Just as in English, we have a wide range of expressions to tell people to shut up in Spanish. And although many of the direct translations are different, the same rules apply when choosing the best way to ask someone to be quiet in Spanish. Choose your tone wisely. Sometimes it’s just better to hold your tongue!