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stiffen - definition and synonyms

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verb stiffen pronunciation in British English /ˈstɪf(ə)n/
Word Forms
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present tense
I/you/we/theystiffen
he/she/itstiffens
present participlestiffening
past tensestiffened
past participlestiffened
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  1. 1
    [intransitive] to suddenly hold your body in a stiff way, often because you become nervous, worried, angry, or unfriendly
    She stiffened as the footsteps came closer and closer.
    stiffen with/in: He stiffened with rage.
  2. 2

    stiffen

    or

    stiffen up

    [intransitive] to become stiff and difficult to move
    Her old fingers were stiffening up now.
    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.

      stiffen

      or

      stiffen up

      [transitive] to make something stiff
      He sat up straight, stiffening his back.
  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] if your resolve or resistance stiffens, or if you stiffen it, you become more determined
    stiffen someone’s resistance: The army stiffened their resistance.
    stiffen someone’s resolve: The air attack only served to stiffen the enemy’s resolve.

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