stiff

adjective
\ ˈstif How to pronounce stiff (audio) \

Definition of stiff

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : not easily bent : rigid a stiff collar
b : lacking in suppleness or flexibility stiff muscles
c : impeded in movement used of a mechanism a truck's stiff suspension
2a : firm, resolute
c : proud
d(1) : marked by reserve or decorum
(2) : lacking in ease or grace : stilted
3 : hard fought stiff competition
4a(1) : exerting great force a stiff wind
b : potent poured her a stiff drink
5 : of a dense or glutinous consistency : thick
6a : harsh, severe a stiff penalty
b : arduous, rugged stiff terrain
7 : not easily heeled over by an external force (such as the wind) a stiff ship
8 : expensive, steep paid a stiff price

stiff

adverb

Definition of stiff (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : in a stiff manner : stiffly
2 : to an extreme degree : severely scared stiff bored stiff
3 : close enough to the hole for an easy putt in golf hit it stiff and tapped it in for an easy birdie

stiff

noun

Definition of stiff (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : corpse
2a : vagrant, tramp
b : a member of the working class especially : a blue-collar worker
c : person a lucky stiff especially : a stodgy or excessively decorous person
3 : flop, failure

stiff

verb
stiffed; stiffing; stiffs

Definition of stiff (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to refuse to pay or tip stiffed the waiter
b : cheat stiffed him in a business deal
c : stick sense 7a stiffed us with the bar bill
2 : snub sense 3 stiffed sportswriters after the game

intransitive verb

: to fail commercially the movie stiffed at the box office

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Other Words from stiff

Adjective

stiffish \ ˈsti-​fish How to pronounce stiff (audio) \ adjective
stiffly adverb
stiffness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for stiff

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for stiff

Adjective

stiff, rigid, inflexible mean difficult to bend. stiff may apply to any degree of this condition. stretching keeps your muscles from becoming stiff rigid applies to something so stiff that it cannot be bent without breaking. a rigid surfboard inflexible stresses lack of suppleness or pliability. ski boots with inflexible soles

Examples of stiff in a Sentence

Adjective When I got out of bed this morning my back was stiff as a board. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Noun That poor stiff never gets a break. They have the kind of luxuries the average working stiff can't afford. Verb the actress has a reputation for stiffing the press at red-carpet events
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective And, the councilors said in the order, that $500 levy for violators isn’t stiff enough. BostonGlobe.com, "Boston city councilors propose big fines for house parties that violate COVID-19 protocols," 4 May 2021 Even before the current virus surge, Modi’s party faced stiff challenges in these local legislative elections. Time, "Narendra Modi's Party Takes an Electoral Hit Amid India's Virus Surge," 3 May 2021 Even before the current virus surge, Modi’s party faced stiff challenges in these local legislative elections. Ashok Sharma, The Christian Science Monitor, "Pandemic price? India's ruling party stumbles in state elections," 2 May 2021 If the frosting is too stiff, thin it with a dribble of milk. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Green Tomato Cake," 22 Apr. 2021 The base model is a little too stiff, the Bobber’s riding position was uncomfortable, and the Super Chief’s accessories weren’t really needed 90 percent of the time. Bryan Campbell, Robb Report, "First Ride: How the 2022 Indian Chief Line Redefines the Production Cruiser," 21 Apr. 2021 Our only complaint is that the power cord, which is sufficiently long, is stiff–especially in cold weather. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Small Shop Vacuums, Tested," 14 Apr. 2021 Each boy’s arms were stiff, and reaching forward, straight out from the shoulders. John Mcphee, The New Yorker, "Tabula Rasa," 12 Apr. 2021 Anthony Mackie has a tendency to be a bit stiff in this role whenever Sam’s not bantering with someone (whether Steve, Bucky, or occasionally Natasha), so pairing him with his best frenemy works wonders for that performance. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, "‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Recap: Two (Butting) Heads Are Better Than One," 26 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The Biden administration has zinged Russia and China over human rights and alleged thuggery against their neighbors, cut off some arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and stiff-armed Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian leader. Washington Post, "Strongmen who got cozy with Trump get the cold shoulder from Biden," 5 May 2021 The Biden administration has zinged Russia and China over human rights and alleged thuggery against their neighbors, cut off some arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and stiff-armed Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian leader. BostonGlobe.com, "Strongmen who got cozy with Trump get the cold shoulder from Biden," 5 May 2021 One of the more memorable plays of the scrimmage was when Bellinger took a short pass from Johnson, put a move on cornerback Tayler Hawkins and stiff-armed Thompson before diving past McMorris at the right cone for a 36-yard touchdown. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Aztecs safety Patrick McMorris making impression in bid for starting spot," 25 Apr. 2021 Waited while praying for justice, tempering anxiety, and stiff-arming fear that the seven women and five men might be swayed by defense arguments that Floyd died from something other than Chauvin’s knee. Roy S. Johnson | Rjohnson@al.com, al, "We breathed again, again, and again. Like George Floyd could not.," 20 Apr. 2021 Casanega, an All-America halfback at Santa Clara when the now-defunct program was a national power, has spent most of his life juking and stiff-arming Father Time. Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle, "The last living original 49er: Ken Casanega's remarkable life reaches 100," 13 Mar. 2021 And when Alex Myres, a cornerback who was elevated from the practice squad on Saturday, tried to tackle Henry, the big back simply stiff-armed Myres into the turf. Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, "Here's job No. 1 for Detroit Lions' next general manager after loss to Titans," 20 Dec. 2020 Montgomery made some nice cuts and stiff-armed Duron Harmon. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions game score vs. Chicago Bears: Live updates and analysis," 6 Dec. 2020 Yet even facing the opposite direction, Henry’s left arm outstretched and stiff-armed away the tackler. Michael Mccleary, The Indianapolis Star, "Derrick Henry's 178-yard day another gash in the Colts' 45-26 loss to Tennessee," 29 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Mitchell led the stiff-arm charge as Arkansas missed 12 straight shots and Teague hit a pair of 3-pointers to put it out of reach. Kristen Davis, cleveland, "Baylor reaches Final Four 2021: Where to buy shirts, hats, more | NCAA Basketball Tournament," 30 Mar. 2021 Mitchell led the stiff-arm charge as Arkansas missed 12 straight shots and Teague hit a pair of 3-pointers to put it out of reach. Kristen Davis, cleveland, "Baylor reaches Final Four 2021: Where to buy shirts, hats, more | NCAA Basketball Tournament," 30 Mar. 2021 Mitchell led the stiff-arm charge as Arkansas missed 12 straight shots and Teague hit a pair of 3-pointers to put it out of reach. Kristen Davis, cleveland, "Baylor reaches Final Four 2021: Where to buy shirts, hats, more | NCAA Basketball Tournament," 30 Mar. 2021 Mitchell led the stiff-arm charge as Arkansas missed 12 straight shots and Teague hit a pair of 3-pointers to put it out of reach. Kristen Davis, cleveland, "Baylor reaches Final Four 2021: Where to buy shirts, hats, more | NCAA Basketball Tournament," 30 Mar. 2021 Mitchell led the stiff-arm charge as Arkansas missed 12 straight shots and Teague hit a pair of 3-pointers to put it out of reach. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Baylor defeats Arkansas for first Final Four in 71 years," 29 Mar. 2021 Mitchell led the stiff-arm charge as Arkansas missed 12 straight shots and Teague hit a pair of 3-pointers to put it out of reach. BostonGlobe.com, "Houston men stave off Oregon State to earn Final Four berth," 29 Mar. 2021 Finding a pair that’s somewhere between stiff and sofa-friendly is just a matter of trial and error. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Denim Lovers, Rejoice! Vogue Editors Share Their Favorite (and Most Comfortable) Jeans to Wear at Home," 20 Feb. 2021 With all due respect to Warren, opening the Biden era by stiff-arming Congress and ordering all sorts of big policy changes by presidential diktat could knock the legs out from the Biden presidency. David Brooks, Star Tribune, "How Biden could steer a divided government," 16 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When a recession hits, U.S. companies are more likely to stiff their lowest-wage workers. Alexia FernÁndez Campbell And Joe Yerardi, Chron, "How companies rip off poor employees - and get away with it," 4 May 2021 When a recession hits, U.S. companies are more likely to stiff their lowest-wage workers. Anchorage Daily News, "How companies rip off poor employees — and get away with it," 4 May 2021 When a recession hits, U.S. companies are more likely to stiff their lowest-wage workers. Alexia FernÁndez Campbell And Joe Yerardi, orlandosentinel.com, "How companies rip off poor employees — and get away with it," 4 May 2021 When a recession hits, U.S. companies are more likely to stiff their lowest-wage workers. CBS News, "U.S. companies are stealing pay from low-wage workers, report says," 4 May 2021 When a recession hits, U.S. companies are more likely to stiff their lowest-wage workers. Alexia FernÁndez Campbell And Joe Yerardi, Star Tribune, "How companies rip off poor employees — and get away with it," 3 May 2021 Once the custard is chilled, whip 1 cup of heavy cream to stiff peaks and fold into the pastry cream to make a smooth and creamy filling. Kristen Massad, Dallas News, "Nostalgic recipe: Old-Fashioned Homemade Banana Pudding," 30 Apr. 2021 Whip the cream to stiff peaks using a stand mixer or hand mixer. Katy Severson, chicagotribune.com, "How to make ice cream," 19 Mar. 2021 Patrick Mahomes: Assuming the NFL can stiff-arm COVID-19 sufficiently, Mahomes’ 2020 may include bookend runs to Super Bowl championships. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Sports' winners, losers from 2020: The people, institutions that stood out with calendar upended," 21 Dec. 2020

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

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First Known Use of stiff

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

circa 1859, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1950, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for stiff

Adjective

Middle English stif, from Old English stīf; akin to Middle Dutch stijf stiff, Latin stipare to press together, Greek steibein to tread on

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Time Traveler for stiff

Time Traveler

The first known use of stiff was before the 12th century

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Statistics for stiff

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stiff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stiff. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for stiff

stiff

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of stiff

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: difficult to bend or move
: painful to move or use also : showing pain in movement or use
: thick and difficult to stir or pour

stiff

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of stiff (Entry 2 of 4)

informal : very much : to an extreme degree

stiff

noun

English Language Learners Definition of stiff (Entry 3 of 4)

informal
: the body of a dead person
: a person who you think is lucky, unlucky, etc.
: an ordinary or dull person

stiff

verb

English Language Learners Definition of stiff (Entry 4 of 4)

US, informal : to not give as much money as you should give to (someone)

stiff

adjective
\ ˈstif How to pronounce stiff (audio) \
stiffer; stiffest

Kids Definition of stiff

1 : not easily bent And because Sarah's clothes were stiff and heavy, the Indian woman made her clothes of deerskin …— Alice Dalgliesh, The Courage of Sarah Noble
2 : not easily moved stiff muscles
3 : firm and not changeable stiff determination
4 : not friendly, relaxed, or graceful in manner … how tense Phoebe's whole family seemed, how tidy, how respectable, how … stiff.— Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons
5 : powerful, strong a stiff wind
6 : not flowing easily : thick Beat the egg whites until stiff.
7 : severe sense 3 a stiff penalty
8 : hard to do or deal with : difficult a stiff test

Other Words from stiff

stiffly adverb walk stiffly

stiff

adjective
\ ˈstif How to pronounce stiff (audio) \

Medical Definition of stiff

: lacking in suppleness stiff muscles

Other Words from stiff

stiffness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on stiff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stiff

Nglish: Translation of stiff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stiff for Arabic Speakers

Comments on stiff

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