Stiff Stiff, a. [Compar. {Stiffer}; superl. {Stiffest}.] [OE. stif, AS. st[=i]f; akin to D. stijf, G. steif, Dan. stiv, Sw. styf, Icel. st[=i]fr, Lith. stipti to be stiff; cf. L. stipes a post, trunk of a tree, stipare to press, compress. Cf. {Costive}, {Stifle}, {Stipulate}, {Stive} to stuff.] 1. Not easily bent; not flexible or pliant; not limber or flaccid; rigid; firm; as, stiff wood, paper, joints. [1913 Webster]

[They] rising on stiff pennons, tower The mid a["e]rial sky. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

2. Not liquid or fluid; thick and tenacious; inspissated; neither soft nor hard; as, the paste is stiff. [1913 Webster]

3. Firm; strong; violent; difficult to oppose; as, a stiff gale or breeze. [1913 Webster]

4. Not easily subdued; unyielding; stubborn; obstinate; pertinacious; as, a stiff adversary. [1913 Webster]

It is a shame to stand stiff in a foolish argument. --Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster]

A war ensues: the Cretans own their cause, Stiff to defend their hospitable laws. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

5. Not natural and easy; formal; constrained; affected; starched; as, stiff behavior; a stiff style. [1913 Webster]

The French are open, familiar, and talkative; the Italians stiff, ceremonious, and reserved. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

6. Harsh; disagreeable; severe; hard to bear. [Obs. or Colloq.] ``This is stiff news.'' --Shak. [1913 Webster]

7. (Naut.) Bearing a press of canvas without careening much; as, a stiff vessel; -- opposed to {crank}. --Totten. [1913 Webster]

8. Very large, strong, or costly; powerful; as, a stiff charge; a stiff price. [Slang] [1913 Webster]

{Stiff neck}, a condition of the neck such that the head can not be moved without difficulty and pain. [1913 Webster]

Syn: Rigid; inflexible; strong; hardly; stubborn; obstinate; pertinacious; harsh; formal; constrained; affected; starched; rigorous. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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