Definition of stiff adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//stɪf//
    ; NAmE NAmE//stɪf//
    (stiffer, stiffest)
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    difficult to bend/move
  1. 1  firm and difficult to bend or move stiff cardboard a stiff brush The windows were stiff and she couldn't get them open.
  2. muscles
  3. 2  when a person is stiff, their muscles hurt when they move them I'm really stiff after that bike ride yesterday. I've got a stiff neck.
  4. mixture
  5. 3  thick and almost solid; difficult to stir Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
  6. difficult/severe
  7. 4more difficult or severe than usual It was a stiff climb to the top of the hill. The company faces stiff competition from its rivals. The new proposals have met with stiff opposition. There are stiff fines for breaking the rules. a stiff breeze/wind (= one that blows strongly)
  8. not friendly
  9. 5(of a person or their behaviour) not friendly or relaxed The speech he made to welcome them was stiff and formal.
  10. price
  11. 6(informal) costing a lot or too much There's a stiff $30 entrance fee to the exhibition.
  12. alcoholic drink
  13. 7[only before noun] strong; containing a lot of alcohol a stiff whisky ‘What you need is a stiff drink,’ he told her.
  14. Word OriginOld English stīf, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch stijf.Extra examples He felt stiff all over. His manner seemed rather stiff and impersonal. I was stiff from kneeling. My arm’s gone all stiff. My fingers had gone stiff with cold. My trousers were getting stiff with mud. She lay stiff and still beside him. She was aware that her words sounded stiff. The captain stood as stiff as a board. The clothes were stiff with dust and grease. Their punishment seemed rather stiff. You’ll get stiff if you don’t have a hot bath. in the face of some very stiff competition He had the accent and the stiff manner of a school house master. I’ve got a stiff neck from sleeping in a draught. It was an old blanket, frayed and stiff with dirt. Scrub away any residue with a stiff brush. The brown hair was coarse and stiff. The course represents a stiff test of a golfer’s skills. The windows were stiff and she couldn’t get them open. a sheet of stiff black cardboardIdioms
    (keep) a stiff upper lip
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    to keep calm and hide your feelings when you are in pain or in a difficult situation He was taught to keep a stiff upper lip and never to cry in public. Their reaction contrasts sharply with the stiff upper lip of the English.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: stiff