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Pipe down!


Be quiet!

TRANSLATION

pipe down = Leiser! Nicht so laut! Ruhe bitte! Mund halten!

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

"He told them to PIPE DOWN, and when they did not, the lawyer reported the two men to court personnel, who charged them with disorderly conduct."

(News report about two men who were arrested for laughing too loud while telling lawyer jokes outside a Chicago courtroom)

Did you
know?

WORD ORIGIN

On sailing ships, the crew were given signals by sounding a pipe. One such signal was ‘piping down the hammocks’ (hammocks being what the sailors sleep on – Hängematte). This was the signal to go below decks and retire for the night. When an officer wanted a sailor to be dismissed below, he would have him ‘piped down’. This usage is recorded in Royal Navy workbooks from the 18th century.

For adults who don’t have the nerve to deal with noisy children, the expression pipe down still gets lots of use.

Take the case of a Mr. Teets in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He lived next to a church that operated a day care centre for children. Mr. Teets filed an official complaint claiming the noise from the playground was a noise pollution violation. He went so far as to measure the noise coming from the playground and discovered it exceeded 80 decibels.

According to the World Almanac, normal conversation takes place at 30 decibels, while a noisy office is 60 decibels. In response to public criticism regarding his complaint, the man said, “I’m not opposed to God, Jesus, the Methodist Church, child care or children. But I have the legal right to enjoy the use of my back yard.”


SYNONYMS

be quiet, put a lid on it, keep the noise down, hush, cool it, calm down, shhhhh…, calm down, chill out, cool it, quiet, settle down

*There's fine line between “pipe down” and “shut up”. The last is considered a rude expression more equivalent to the German “halt die Klappe” or “Halt’s Maul”


SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation
say something like:

“When everyone started talking at once in the middle of the meeting, the facilitator told them to PIPE DOWN so he could get through the rest of the agenda."

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