rigid or firm; difficult or impossible to bend or flex: a stiff collar.
not moving or working easily: The motor was a little stiff from the cold weather.
(of a person or animal) not supple; moving with difficulty, as from cold, age, exhaustion, or injury.
strong or potent to the taste or system, as a beverage or medicine: He was cold and wanted a good stiff drink.
stubbornly continued: a stiff battle.
firm against any tendency to decrease, as stock-market prices.
rigidly formal; cold and unfriendly, as people, manners, or proceedings.
lacking ease and grace; awkward: a stiff style of writing.
excessively regular or formal, as a design; not graceful in form or arrangement.
laborious or difficult, as a task.
severe or harsh, as a penalty or demand.
excessive; unusually high or great: $50 is pretty stiff to pay for that.
firm from tension; taut: to keep a stiff rein.
relatively firm in consistency, as semisolid matter; thick: a stiff jelly;a stiff batter.
dense or compact; not friable: stiff soil.
Nautical. (of a vessel) having a high resistance to rolling; stable (opposed to crank2).
Scot. and North England. sturdy, stout, or strongly built.
Australian Slang. out of luck; unfortunate.
a dead body; corpse.
a formal or priggish person.
a poor tipper; tightwad.
a fellow: lucky stiff; poor stiff.
a tramp; hobo.
a forged check.
a promissory note or bill of exchange.
a letter or note, especially if secret or smuggled.
Slang. a contestant, especially a racehorse, sure to lose.
in or to a firm or rigid state: The wet shirt was frozen stiff.
completely, intensely, or extremely: I'm bored stiff by these lectures.We're scared stiff.
- stiff·ish, adjective
- stiff·ly, adverb
- stiff·ness, noun
- o·ver·stiff, adjective
- o·ver·stiff·ly, adverb
- sem·i·stiff, adjective
- sem·i·stiff·ly, adverb
- un·stiff, adjective
- un·stiff·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use stiff in a sentence
A growing sense that Romney is stiffing the print press may be fueling the flaps that came to define his trip.Palestinian Remarks Furor: Romney Campaign Hits AP as ‘Irresponsible’ | Howard Kurtz | August 2, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
In a strange incident back in January, Stahl was arrested for stiffing a cab driver in Los Angeles on his $84 bill.The John Connor Curse: Nick Stahl, Edward Furlong and Christian Bale | Marlow Stern | May 18, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
Shock had produced it; perhaps shock alone could loosen the stiffing pressure of it.Robert Elsmere | Mrs. Humphry Ward
British Dictionary definitions for stiff
not easily bent; rigid; inflexible
not working or moving easily or smoothly: a stiff handle
difficult to accept in its severity or harshness: a stiff punishment
moving with pain or difficulty; not supple: a stiff neck
difficult; arduous: a stiff climb
unrelaxed or awkward; formal
firmer than liquid in consistency; thick or viscous
powerful; strong: a stiff breeze; a stiff drink
excessively high: a stiff price
nautical (of a sailing vessel) relatively resistant to heeling or rolling: Compare tender 1 (def. 11)
lacking grace or attractiveness
stubborn or stubbornly maintained: a stiff fight
obsolete tightly stretched; taut
slang, mainly Australian unlucky
stiff upper lip See lip (def. 9)
stiff with informal amply provided with
slang a corpse
slang anything thought to be a loser or a failure; flop
completely or utterly: bored stiff; frozen stiff
(intr) slang to fail: the film stiffed
(tr) slang, mainly US to cheat or swindle
(tr) slang to kill
- stiffish, adjective
- stiffly, adverb
- stiffness, 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
Other Idioms and Phrases with stiff
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)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.