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stiff - definition and synonyms

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adjective     stiff pronunciation in American English
  1. 1
    if you are stiff, or if a part of your body is stiff, you feel pain in your muscles and cannot move easily

    Her fingers were getting stiff.

    feel stiff:

    My leg muscles always feel stiff after a long bike ride.

    stiff neck/back etc.:

    She was suffering from a stiff neck.

  2. 2
    firm and difficult to bend

    a stiff piece of cardboard

    a small stiff brush

    stiff as a board (=extremely stiff):

    The wet towel I had left hanging outside was frozen and stiff as a board.

  3. 3
    if something that should move easily is stiff, it does not move or operate as easily as you expect

    The drawer was very stiff, so I pulled on it.

    The hinges of the box were stiff from lack of use.

    Synonyms and related words
  4. 4
    a mixture that is stiff is very thick and keeps its shape when you stop mixing it
    stiff paste/dough:

    Beat in the sugar to make a stiff paste.

    beat/whisk something until stiff:

    Beat the egg whites until stiff.

  5. 5
    formal and controlled in a way that is not friendly or relaxed

    Her tone was a little stiff, I thought.

    stiff with:

    His face was stiff with disapproval.

    stiff and awkward:

    He looked stiff and awkward in his new suit.

    Synonyms and related words
  6. 6
    more severe or difficult than usual
    stiff fine/penalty/sentence:

    Those caught breaking the new law face some pretty stiff fines.

    stiff competition:

    Greene is up against some stiff competition in this race.

    stiff opposition/resistance:

    The government forces met with stiff resistance in the north.

derived word


noun [uncountable]
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