adjective, stiff·er, stiff·est.
- a dead body; corpse.
- a formal or priggish person.
- a poor tipper; tightwad.
- a drunk.
- a fellow: lucky stiff; poor stiff.
- a tramp; hobo.
- a laborer.
- a forged check.
- a promissory note or bill of exchange.
- a letter or note, especially if secret or smuggled.
verb (used with object)
- stiegel, henry william,
- stieglitz, alfred,
- stiff as a board,
- stiff upper lip,
- stiff-man syndrome,
Origin of stiff
Examples from the Web for stiff
Ney said McDonnell needs to “keep a stiff lip” and stay in close contact with family members.Abramoff’s Advice for Virginia’s New Jailhouse Guv|Tim Mak, Jackie Kucinich|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Her pallid young face, brow sweating with fear and pain, yet resolute and stiff with sorrow, makes you want to cry.
FDR wanted to project easy grace rather than stiff formality—especially when communicating complicated matters.
He is in his late forties; intelligent, people say, but stiff and restrained, an eternal bachelor.Adam Hochschild on Keeping Company With His Dying Father|Adam Hochschild|June 14, 2014|DAILY BEAST
And most of the contemporization sounds like what it is—an ostentatious, slightly ill-fitting suit slipped onto a stiff.Michael Jackson’s Posthumous Album, ‘Xscape,’ Is a Confused, Shameless Money Grab|Andrew Romano|May 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
If it becomes too stiff add a few drops of water, and stir it again.The Century Cook Book|Mary Ronald
The Rumanians presented a stiff ultimatum to the new Hungarian Cabinet.The Inside Story Of The Peace Conference|Emile Joseph Dillon
Even his grizzled hair slanted forward in a stiff cowlick over his forehead, and his face bristled sharply with his gray beard.Jerome, A Poor Man|Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
And she could neither walk nor fly, she was so lame and stiff, or else it was that her wings were cut—he was not sure which.Four Winds Farm|Mrs. Molesworth
Attempting to remount, I was as stiff and awkward as an octogenarian, and my restive mule would not stand for a moment.The Secret Service.|Albert D. Richardson
Word Origin for stiff
Old English stif "rigid, inflexible," from Proto-Germanic *stifaz "inflexible" (cf. Dutch stijf, Old High German stif, German steif "stiff;" Old Norse stifla "choke"), from PIE *stipos-, from root *steip- "press together, pack, cram" (cf. Sanskrit styayate "coagulates," stima "slow;" Greek stia, stion "small stone," steibo "press together;" Latin stipare "pack down, press," stipes "post, tree trunk;" Lithuanian stipti "stiffen," stiprus "strong;" Old Church Slavonic stena "wall"). Of battles and competitions, from mid-13c.; of liquor, from 1813. To keep a stiff upper lip is attested from 1815.
"corpse," 1859, slang, from stiff (adj.) which had been associated with notion of rigor mortis since c.1200. Meaning "working man" first recorded 1930, from earlier genitive sense of "contemptible person" (1882). Slang meaning "something or someone bound to lose" is 1890 (originally of racehorses), from notion of "corpse."
"fail to tip," 1939, originally among restaurant and hotel workers, probably from stiff (n.) in slang sense of "corpse" (corpses don't tip well, either). Extended by 1950 to "cheat."
In addition to the idioms beginning with stiff
- stiff as a board
- stiff upper lip
- bore to death (stiff)
- keep a stiff upper lip
- scare out of one's wits (stiff)