stiffen

[ stif-uh n ]
/ ˈstɪf ən /

verb (used with object)

to make stiff.

verb (used without object)

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.

Nearby words

  1. stiff as a board,
  2. stiff upper lip,
  3. stiff-arm,
  4. stiff-man syndrome,
  5. stiff-necked,
  6. stiffener,
  7. stiffly,
  8. stiffnecked,
  9. stiffy,
  10. stifle

Origin of stiffen

First recorded in 1490–1500; stiff + -en1

Related formso·ver·stiff·en, verbun·stiff·ened, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stiffen


British Dictionary definitions for stiffen

stiffen

/ (ˈstɪfən) /

verb

to make or become stiff or stiffer
(intr) to become suddenly tense or unyielding
Derived Formsstiffener, noun

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 stiffen

stiffen

v.

1590s, from stiff (adj.) + -en (1). Related: Stiffened; stiffening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper