Definition of stiffen in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈstɪf(ə)n/


1Make or become stiff or rigid: [with object]: he stiffened his knees in an effort to prevent them trembling [no object]: my back stiffens up and I can’t bend
More example sentences
  • His knee also stiffens up after training, so it needs sorting out because it's an annoying problem.
  • That's impressive for a man his age - perhaps, like me, he has a bad back that stiffens up when he sits.
  • Hold a magnet nearby and the bits of iron will line up end-to-end; they form a rigid lattice that stiffens the mixture.
become stiff, thicken;
make/become stiff/rigid, tense (up), tighten, tauten;
technical ankylose
1.1 [with object] Support or strengthen (a garment or fabric), typically by adding tape or an adhesive layer.
Example sentences
  • The sealant stiffens the fabric and prevents the threads from showing through the stitching.
  • Thicker foam also will stiffen the base fabric more than thin foam and requires the stability of heavy fabric, such as denim.
  • He exaggerated the hips with panniered silk skirts, and skirts were stiffened into subtle bell shapes.
1.2Make or become stronger or more steadfast: [with object]: outrage over the murders stiffened the government’s resolve to confront the Mafia [no object]: the regime’s resistance stiffened
More example sentences
  • We can hope for an early end to the destruction, but as resistance stiffens that prospect is by no means certain.
  • Progressive Democrats revolted in the House caucus, stiffening resistance to the Republican bill.
  • European governments are stiffening their resistance to war in Iraq in advance of the weapons inspectors' report to the United Nations security council tomorrow.
strengthen, harden, toughen, fortify, give strength to, reinforce, brace, steel, give a boost to



Pronunciation: /ˈstɪf(ə)nə/
Example sentences
  • There are shoes with Velcro closure systems, shoes with stretch-neoprene openings, and shoes with nylon midsole stiffeners to increase edge-holding power without losing flexibility.
  • And why, why, oh why, do shirts still come wrapped in layers of tissue, with cardboard stiffeners and plastic collar supports as well as thousands of pins in the most unlikely places?
  • Add stiffeners and strengthen lateral bracing on steel members to prevent local buckling before the members reach their full plastic capacity.

Words that rhyme with stiffen


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: stiff¦en

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