Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

stiffen

play
verb stiff·en \ˈsti-fən\

Simple Definition of stiffen

  • : to stop moving and become completely still especially because of fear, anger, etc.

  • : to become painful to move or use

  • : to become more severe or strong or to make (something) more severe or strong

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of stiffen

stiffened

stiffening

play \ˈsti-fə-niŋ, ˈstif-niŋ\
  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to make stiff or stiffer

  3. intransitive verb
  4. :  to become stiff or stiffer

stiffener

play \ˈsti-fə-nər, ˈstif-nər\ noun

Examples of stiffen in a sentence

  1. She stiffened when he grabbed her shoulder.

  2. The dogs stiffened in alarm.

  3. The law would stiffen penalties for tax evasion.



15th Century

First Known Use of stiffen

15th century

Rhymes with stiffen


STIFFEN Defined for Kids

stiffen

play
verb stiff·en \ˈsti-fən\

Definition of stiffen for Students

stiffened

stiffening

  1. 1 :  to make or become stiff or stiffer <The paper stiffened as it dried.>

  2. 2 :  to become tense and still <He stiffened with suspicion.>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up stiffen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to destroy or remove completely

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

two-chairs-on-a-pier-by-the-ocean-in-summer

Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

hiemal vernal brumal estival
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ