Definition of stiff in English:
- He's wearing a white shirt with a stiff collar, black trousers with braces, and dancing shoes with leather spats.
- The plans are in PDF format for easy printing and pasting onto stiff cardboard.
- The duo have dispensed with plastic CD casings and fashioned their covers from stiff cardboard.
- Mix together roughly four tablespoons of flour and one tablespoon of water with enough water to form a paste - a thick, stiff paste will give you a raised cross and a looser paste will give you a flat cross.
- Whisk together the double and single cream until thick, but not stiff: this takes longer than usual because of the addition of the single cream.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until thick and stiff.
- It is harder for them to dress in and out of equipment, propel themselves through the water and operate stiff power inflators or releases, for example.
- Typical aging of these windows involves corrosion of the metal, stiff operation, inability to close and multiple layers of paint.
- ‘My body was very stiff at first especially because of my old age,’ Shen said.
- A little into the morning saw all of us grimacing over our stiff bodies - the outcome of the previous day's water pursuits!
- He was weak and his aching body was still stiff from the beating.
- Corrissa's stiff manner left her, and she ran frantically towards the door and immediately started pounding on it.
- You have a melancholy disposition resulting in a shyness, or a formal and stiff manner of presenting yourself.
- Mel had never particularly liked the woman's stiff manner and perfect outward appearance.
- He was tried and found guilty by a British Consular Court: his punishment was a stiff fine and probation with a stern warning to desist.
- The league should be proud of that, not hiding behind stiff fines and harsh rhetoric.
- That commission recommended stiff increases in the payroll tax to create a surplus that would help fund the retirement of baby boomers down the road.
- As he spoke, it seemed the gods were heeding the many prayers at the Cork venue, as the sun shone brightly and a stiff wind blew on the opening day.
- The Pope, who aides say is losing sleep over the possibility of war, celebrated a Mass that began with a stiff wind blowing in from Siberia over the flat steppes and ended in sunshine.
- A stiff wind blew through the woods, ruffling their hair.
- However, outside of China, in Japan for instance, such an effort will meet stiff resistance from habit users and from simple economic forces.
- From there a very stiff climb through what is still called ‘Sullivan road’ took us to Kundhesappe and then to Doddabetta foothill.
- Once more, firm sand provided a gentle walking surface until almost the end of the beach, where we rested before the short but stiff climb to the heathland above the cliffs.
- I don't drink at lunchtime but I like a stiff whisky at 6.30 in the evening and perhaps another later on.
- The General was pouring himself a stiff brandy with shaking hands.
- Bowles reassures her with a stiff whisky and a clipped certainty that everything will be back to normal tomorrow.
- I cannot speak for Xander, but I was still scared stiff.
- "They'll see that in the paper and think I'm scared stiff," he said.
- Andy pleaded from the hallway seeming utterly scared stiff.
nouninformal Back to top
- When the bodies of various stiffs start disappearing from the local morgue, the police are baffled as to where they've gone.
- There's a whole craft industry based on vehicles for transferring stiffs from the chapel to the boneyard.
- A friend of my father's worked for the London Transport Police and part of his job involved scraping stiffs off the tracks.
- So, unlike the bigwigs who cashed in big on stock options, look for him to remain a working stiff.
- Never have the ordinary people of America, the decent, working stiffs, needed and deserved a great tribute more urgently.
- Don't trust that future working stiffs will pay your way - the system may be entirely different by then!
verb[with object] informal Back to top
- We do know they have been steadily alienating your regular customers, stiffing them on money owed, making a terrible mess of the legitimate business, while all the while on paper your company is soaring.
- After the media glare faded, the team was stiffed for $43,000 of the prize money.
- If people are unaware, it is a crime to stiff people on wages, even the homeless.
- "Sending a message" by stiffing a rude waiter or bellhop does not work.
- I can tell you I never stiffed a waiter in a French restaurant.
- Every morning the same four guys came in, ate the same eggs-and-potatoes configurations, repeated the same harangue about how I was personally responsible for their lack of overtime, and stiffed me.
- And in this case, he was very interested in all of the questions, did not stiff them or brush them off.
- But to follow up on Bernie's question, does the vice president pay a price for stiffing the press as he has done for two months now?
- And yet, he stiffed the police for a couple of months and, even to this day, has not spoken out publicly.
- I'll bet you his last album was more successful than an American superstar whose last album stiffed.
- Ultimately, we wound up doing one television show as guild members, the record started stiffing and the band broke up.
- It stiffed, but his performance sticks in the memory and it's that ability which will see him through any critical fall-out.
- 1stiff as a board
- informal (Of a person or part of the body) extremely stiff.Example sentences
- He would lay in his bed flat on his back, stiff as a board, tightly clutching his blanket with the fingers of both hands.
- Dustin fought to stay up, to stay stiff as a board, but eventually the bear succeeded in knocking him over.
- I made my back as stiff as a board, glaring the whole while at the poor boy.
- 2a stiff upper lip
- A quality of uncomplaining stoicism: senior managers had to keep a stiff upper lip and remain optimisticMore example sentences
- Upper-class Englishmen pride themselves on discretion and a stiff upper lip, deeply unfashionable human qualities in these tabloid times.
- But, if the governing class goes about business as usual, that's not a stiff upper lip but a death wish.
- Most of the women were crying, but I kept a stiff upper lip.
- Example sentences
- The sides were tied and the former Ryan Cup champions faced into a stiffish breeze for the second period.
- Drain well and mash, adding the other ingredients, forming a stiffish dough.
- A rather stiffish breeze blew from the town end of the grounds, which the winners had first use of.
- Example sentences
- He smiled stiffly and slowly moved his arm so that it was extended out in front of him.
- They stood stiffly at attention, rifles in hand, guarding the gates of their establishment.
- Uniforms were white, shirts stiffly starched, and caps tilted by gloved hands.
- Example sentences
- The head is slightly bowed, but the body is upright, without a trace of military rigidity or stiffness.
- Other symptoms include muscle rigidity or stiffness and slow movement.
- But her natural dignity, verging on stiffness, and a strong sense of duty, made her fill the role well.
An Old English word, stiff goes back to a Germanic root meaning ‘inflexible’ and shares an Indo-European ancestry with Latin stipare ‘press, pack’ source of constipate (Late Middle English) and via Spanish the stevedore (late 18th century) who packs away cargo. As a noun meaning ‘a dead body’ it dates back to the USA of the 1850s. The stiffs, meaning the reserve team of a sports club, is a 1950s use. See also starve.
The stiff upper lip, a quality of uncomplaining stoicism so often thought of as peculiarly British is apparently North American in origin. The earliest recorded example is from the US writer John Neal's novel The Down Easters (1833): ‘What's the use o' boo-hooin’?…Keep a stiff upper lip; no bones broke.’
Words that rhyme with stiffbiff, cliff, glyph, if, kif, miff, niff, quiff, riff, skew-whiff, skiff, sniff, spliff, tiff, whiff
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.