stiffen

verb stiff·en \ ˈsti-fən \
Updated on: 9 Dec 2017

Definition of stiffen

stiffened; stiffening play \ˈsti-fə-niŋ, ˈstif-niŋ\
transitive verb
: to make stiff or stiffer
intransitive verb
: 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.

Recent Examples of stiffen from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stiffen.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of stiffen

15th century

stiffen Synonyms

Synonyms
harden, harshen, strengthen, toughen
Antonyms
ameliorate, ease
Near Antonyms
lessen, moderate, soften

STIFFEN Defined for English Language Learners

stiffen

verb

Definition of stiffen for English Language Learners

  • : 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


STIFFEN Defined for Kids

stiffen

verb stiff·en \ ˈsti-fən \

Definition of stiffen for Students

stiffened; stiffening
1 : to make or become stiff or stiffer
  • The paper stiffened as it dried.
2 : to become tense and still
  • He stiffened with suspicion.


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of very fine texture or delicate form

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