[ 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.

Origin of stiffen

First recorded in 1490–1500; stiff + -en1

Related forms

o·ver·stiff·en, verbun·stiff·ened, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stiffen

British Dictionary definitions for stiffen


/ (ˈstɪfən) /


to make or become stiff or stiffer
(intr) to become suddenly tense or unyielding

Derived Forms

stiffener, 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