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Note 233 – The meaning of the phrase ‘keep schtum’

If someone asked you to keep schtum, it would mean that they didn’t want you to say anything as it might get you into trouble. According to schtum possibly comes from the German word stumm meaning silent. state that the German word stumm is of Yiddish origin (1950s).  They also explain that schtum (or shtum) can be an adjective or a verb.


As an adjective it means ‘silent ‘and ‘non-communicative’

Example: I asked her to keep schtum about my lottery win.

Verb (schtum, schummed, schtumming)

As a verb it means ‘be or become quiet and non-communicative’.

Example: Jean schtummed up when I mentioned the fraudulent activity on the account.

Variations of the way it’s spelt:

  • schtum
  • stumm
  • shtoom
  • shtum

If you use the word, how do you spell it?

Until tomorrow…



About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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