- to make stiff.
- to become stiff.
- to become suddenly tense, rigid, or taut, as in bracing oneself for or drawing back from shock, fear, or displeasure: He stiffened, expecting to hear the worst.
Origin of stiffen
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for stiffened
The bearded volunteer, wearing an over-sized black flack jacket, said rebel resistance had stiffened.Ukraine Rebels Boast About Troops and Tanks Coming from Russia
August 16, 2014
At the crucial moment, she stiffened George HW Bush's spine to fight to rescue Kuwait in the first Gulf War.How Margaret Thatcher Saved Britain and Changed the World
April 8, 2013
It stiffened Israeli backs even further against being conciliatory about starting talks with the Palestinians.Fire the Mideast Policy Team!
Leslie H. Gelb
July 7, 2010
She stiffened in her chair and said, "Nobody takes this more personally than the president."How I Got Interrogated by the Bushies
January 15, 2009
They would have stiffened in astonishment could they have translated the "glare."Quaint Courtships
The short rest had stiffened them and brought home the weariness to their bones.
They stiffened in surprise as he caught sight of the Leopard Woman.
She stood looking at that outstretched, stiffened man, who was dying.The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete
Joshua Lake stiffened as he had stiffened so many times before.The Big Tomorrow
- to make or become stiff or stiffer
- (intr) to become suddenly tense or unyielding
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for stiffened
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper