AskDefine | Define shutout

Dictionary Definition

shutout n : a defeat in a game where one side fails to score [syn: skunk]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Closing and forbidding entry, as a lockout in which management prevents works from working.
    A shutout is a reverse strike, the union complained, the workers wanted to work but management was opposed.
  2. A game that ends with one side not having scored.
    The score wasn't just lopsided, it was a shutout.

Extensive Definition

In team sports, in American English, a shutout (a clean sheet in soccer) refers to a game in which one team prevents the opposing team from scoring. While possible, they are highly improbable in some sports, such as basketball.
Shutouts are usually seen as a result of effective defensive play even though a weak opposing offense may be as much to blame. Some sports credit individual players, particularly goalkeepers and starting pitchers, with shutouts and keep track of them as statistics; others do not.


If the starting pitcher can pitch the entire game without giving up a run he earns a complete game shutout. The current record holder for most career shutouts is Walter Johnson with 110; the current active leader is Roger Clemens with 48 (tied with Kid Nichols for 25th all-time).
Though less than half of Johnson's record, Clemens' total is not likely to be reached by anyone else for some time, if at all, as pitchers rarely earn more than 1 or 2 shutouts per season today with the heavy emphasis on pitch counts and relief pitching. In today's game pitchers are frequently taken out of the game in the 7th or 8th inning even if the opposing team hasn't scored a run. A pitcher getting a complete game shutout today usually entails one of the following circumstances: getting through the game while throwing an unusually low number of pitches; having one's own team score a large number of runs (allowing the pitcher a "run cushion" to complete the game without relief, though on some times a pitcher is more likely to be relieved in this situation rather than "wastefully" wearing him down or risking injury); or the team has a need that day to keep an unusually overworked bullpen rested if possible. It may also be done if the pitcher is working on a rare feat such as a no-hitter or perfect game, for example on June 7, 2007, Curt Schilling pitched a complete game shutout in which the score ended 1-0. The only reason he was kept in such a close game was that he had a no-hitter going that was broken up with 2 outs in the ninth inning. An example of the rarity of the complete game shutout is with young pitcher Chien-Ming Wang of the New York Yankees. On August 2, 2006 against the Toronto Blue Jays he had a very good chance at achieving a shutout in two consecutive starts, an extremely rare feat today. However, despite a commanding 7-0 lead, he was taken out after 8 innings due to a combination of a high pitch count and unusually hot weather during the game (the next time a pitcher threw consecutive shutouts was Brandon Webb of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007).
The term can also be used, however, to describe periods of time longer or shorter than one game. For instance, the efforts of a relief pitcher could be described as "three shutout innings" or a pitcher may have pitched a shutout over the "past 22 innings" (slightly over two full games). Similarly, if two or more pitchers contribute to a shutout, it is referred to as a "combined shutout," even though none of the pitchers get credit for a shutout.
The official statistical abbreviation for "shutout" is SHO. Novice fans have been known to interpret it as 'SO', which is the sabermetric abbreviation of strikeout.
See also: No-hitter and Perfect game.

Ice hockey

In ice hockey, a shutout is given to a team whose goaltender successfully prevents the other team from scoring and plays the entire game. The current record holder for most regular-season career shutouts in the National Hockey League is Terry Sawchuk with 103 (See All-Time Regular Season Shutouts). The current modern-day record for a team as being shut out in a season is held by the Columbus Blue Jackets at sixteen, during the 2006-2007 NHL season.

Association Football

In football (soccer), this is known as a clean sheet. In association football in Great Britain, a "clean sheet" can be attributed to the whole team, the defence or just the goalkeeper when they play an entire match without conceding a goal.
The term first appeared in the 1930s and it derived from sports reporting in which the reporter would use separate pieces of paper to record different events of the game. If one team does not let in a goal, then that team's "details of goals conceded" column would appear blank, hence leaving a clean sheet. For example, two teams are playing (Team A and Team B), Team A win 4-0, they keep the clean sheet whereas Team B have conceded 4 goals, they do not.
As football is a low-scoring game, it is very common for one team to score zero, or even both in a 0-0 goalless draw.

American Football

A shutout in American football is a fairly uncommon occurrence.


Shutouts are not common in either form of rugby football, but they do happen. In fact the 2005 Gillette Rugby League Tri-Nations final was the first time the Australia had been 'nilled' since 1981.
The term 'shutout' is not in common usage in European sport, and thus is not applied to European rugby, and there is no alternative term for the occurrence of a team achieving a no score, except to say that the team score 'nil'. For example, the December 2006 Magner's Celtic League match between Munster and Connacht ended 12-0 to Munster. It would be said that Munster won "twelve-nil."
Generally, a well-disciplined team, defensively, as well as behaviorally (thereby not giving away penalty kicks) are most likely to not give away scores. Although this will also occur if there is a significant gulf in class between the two teams, for example, when Scotland beat Spain (who were playing in their only Rugby World Cup) 48-0 in the 1999 Rugby World Cup, or when Australia beat Namibia 142-0 in the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
shutout in German: Shutout
shutout in French: Blanchissage
shutout in Korean: 완봉
shutout in Dutch: Shutout
shutout in Japanese: 完封
shutout in Serbo-Croatian: Shutout
shutout in Ukrainian: Суха гра
shutout in Chinese: 完封
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