stiff1 S3 comparative stiffer, superlative stiffest
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.
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).
firm, hard, or difficult to bend:
a shirt with a stiff collar
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
difficult, strict, or severe
calls for stiffer penalties for rapists
Graduates face stiff competition in getting jobs.
The development plans have met with stiff opposition.
difficult to move, turn, or open:
door/drawer etcBritish English
Pull hard - that drawer's very stiff.
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.
a stiff price etc is high, especially higher than the price etc of similar things:
a stiff tax on cigarettes
a fairly strong wind etc
a very strong alcoholic drink
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.
—stiffness noun [uncountable]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