Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Language: Old English
Origin: stif

stiff

1 adjective
     
stiff1 S3 comparative stiffer, superlative stiffest
1

body

if someone or a part of their body is stiff, their muscles hurt and it is difficult for them to move
stiff from doing something
Her legs were stiff from kneeling.
stiff with
Her fingers were stiff with cold.
stiff neck/back/joint etc
Alastair woke with a stiff neck.
I never felt stiff after training until I was in my thirties.
The next morning I was as stiff as a board (=very stiff).
2

material/substance

firm, hard, or difficult to bend:
a shirt with a stiff collar
3

mixture

a stiff mixture is thick and almost solid, so that it is not easy to mix:
Beat the egg whites until stiff.
a stiff dough
4

difficult

difficult, strict, or severe
stiff sentence/penalty/fine
calls for stiffer penalties for rapists
stiff competition/opposition
Graduates face stiff competition in getting jobs.
The development plans have met with stiff opposition.
5

door/drawer etc

British English difficult to move, turn, or open:
Pull hard - that drawer's very stiff.
6

unfriendly

if someone's behaviour is stiff, they behave in a very formal or unfriendly way:
Their goodbyes were stiff and formal.
Parsons gave a stiff performance in the main role.
7

price

a stiff price etc is high, especially higher than the price etc of similar things:
a stiff tax on cigarettes
8

stiff wind/breeze

HEM a fairly strong wind etc
9

stiff drink/whisky etc

DFD a very strong alcoholic drink
10

stiff upper lip

the ability to stay calm and not show your feelings in a difficult or upsetting situation:
Men were taught to keep a stiff upper lip.
stiffly adverb
stiffness noun [uncountable]
WORD FOCUS: hard WORD FOCUS: hard
hard and not bending: solid, firm, stiff, rigid

meat that is too hard: tough

skin that is old and hard: leathery, calloused

hard and easily broken: brittle


See also
hard

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