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 stiffness
Early signs are often movement-related, including tremors, stiffness, and problems with walking.The Burden Robin Williams Carried: Diagnosed With Parkinson’s and Depression|Dr. Anand Veeravagu, MD, Tej Azad|August 15, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Some senior Whitehall sources believed that there was an early “stiffness” between the Queen and Mrs. Thatcher.Margaret Thatcher and Queen Elizabeth’s Complicated Relationship|Andrew Marr|April 8, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Your miner friends notice the stiffness of your walk and chaff you about it.
But after a few minutes with him, you notice the stiffness and formality are gone.
"There is no stiffness about the immortals," laughed the Sun-god.The Enchanted Castle|E. Nesbit
He does not ask to have his boots laced up nor complain of their stiffness.A Poor Man's House|Stephen Sydney Reynolds
My hand shook so, owing to the stiffness of my night-cap last night before I went to roost.Tales of the Wonder Club, Volume II|Alexander Huth
Hungerford rose with the stiffness of the night, and coming to Stover, took him by the shoulders.Stover at Yale|Owen Johnson
Sometimes the bodies of people who are struck are as stiff as iron and retain their stiffness.Thunder and Lightning|Camille Flammarion
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)