American English

Definition of stiff adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (stiffer, stiffest)
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    difficult to bend/move
  1. 1firm and difficult to bend or move stiff cardboard a stiff brush This once-pliable plastic had become stiff as a board.
  2. muscles
  3. 2when 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. 3thick 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 behavior) 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 $15 entrance fee to the exhibit.
  12. alcoholic drink
  13. 7[only before noun] strong; containing a lot of alcohol a stiff whiskey “What you need is a stiff drink,” he told her.
    adverb “Thank you,” she replied stiffly. The key turned stiffly in the lock. She sat down stiffly on a chair by the wall, aware that they were looking at her.
    noun [uncountable] pain and stiffness in her legs
  16. Idioms
    (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 Learner's Dictionary entry: stiff