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stiff - definition and synonyms

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adjective     stiff pronunciation in British 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
    if something that should move easily is stiff, it does not move or operate as easily as you expect

    The drawer was rather stiff, so I pulled at it.

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

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  3. 3
    firm and difficult to bend

    a stiff piece of card

    a small stiff brush

    stiff as a board (=extremely stiff):

    The washing on the line was frozen and stiff as a board.

  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 icing sugar to make a stiff paste.

    beat/whisk something until stiff:

    Whisk 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 competition:

    Jarvis is up against some stiff competition in this race.

    stiff opposition/resistance:

    The government forces met with stiff resistance in the north.

    stiff fine/penalty/sentence:

    Those caught breaking the new law face stiff fines.

derived word


noun [uncountable]
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a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

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a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

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