- 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 stiffens
He stiffens up that old monkey of a Malay, who knows well enough what to do.End of the Tether
The body is rocked from side to side for a short time, and then it stiffens.The Outline of Science, Vol. 1 (of 4)
J. Arthur Thomson
First off Stanley stiffens up like he was goin' to be peeved.Torchy As A Pa
Sandy-hued Mistress Sadler stiffens and bridles at the question.A Warwickshire Lad
George Madden Martin
If it weren't for him, we'd have an easier fight; he stiffens up the others.The Dwelling Place of Light, Complete
- 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 stiffens
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper