Meaning of STIFF in English


I. ˈstif adjective

Etymology: Middle English stif, from Old English stīf; akin to Middle Dutch stijf stiff, Latin stipare to press together, Greek steibein to tread on

Date: before 12th century


a. : not easily bent : rigid

a stiff collar

b. : lacking in suppleness or flexibility

stiff muscles

c. : impeded in movement — used of a mechanism

a truck's stiff suspension

d. : drunk 1a


a. : firm , resolute

b. : stubborn , unyielding

c. : proud


(1) : marked by reserve or decorum

(2) : lacking in ease or grace : stilted

3. : hard fought : pugnacious , sharp

drove a stiff bargain

stiff competition



(1) : exerting great force

a stiff wind

(2) : forceful , vigorous

b. : potent

a stiff dose

poured her a stiff drink

5. : of a dense or glutinous consistency : thick


a. : harsh , severe

a stiff penalty

b. : arduous , rugged

stiff terrain

7. : not easily heeled over by an external force (as the wind)

a stiff ship

8. : expensive , steep

paid a stiff price

• stiff·ish ˈsti-fish adjective

• stiff·ly adverb

• stiff·ness noun


stiff , rigid , inflexible mean difficult to bend. stiff may apply to any degree of this condition

stretching keeps your muscles from becoming stiff

rigid applies to something so stiff that it cannot be bent without breaking

a rigid surfboard

inflexible stresses lack of suppleness or pliability

ski boots with inflexible soles

II. adverb

Date: 13th century

1. : in a stiff manner : stiffly

2. : to an extreme degree : severely

scared stiff

bored stiff

3. : close enough to the hole for an easy putt in golf

hit it stiff and tapped it in for an easy birdie

III. noun

Date: circa 1859

1. : corpse


a. : tramp , bum

b. : a member of the working class ; especially : a blue-collar worker

c. : person

a lucky stiff

especially : a stodgy or excessively decorous person

3. : flop , failure

IV. verb

Date: 1950

transitive verb


a. : to refuse to pay or tip

stiff ed the waiter

b. : cheat

stiff ed him in a business deal

c. : stick 7a

stiff ed us with the bar bill

2. : snub 3

stiff ed sportswriters after the game

intransitive verb

: to fail commercially

the movie stiff ed at the box office

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.