1. Not easily bent; not flexible or pliant; not limber or flaccid; rigid; firm; as, stiff wood, paper, joints. "[They] rising on stiff pennons, tower The mid aerial sky." (Milton)

2. Not liquid or fluid; thick and tenacious; inspissated; neither soft nor hard; as, the paste is stiff.

3. Firm; strong; violent; difficult to oppose; as, a stiff gale or breeze.

4. Not easily subdued; unyielding; stubborn; obstinate; pertinacious; as, a stiff adversary. "It is a shame to stand stiff in a foolish argument." (Jer. Taylor) "A war ensues: the Cretans own their cause, Stiff to defend their hospitable laws." (Dryden)

5. Not natural and easy; formal; constrained; affected; starched; as, stiff behavior; a stiff style. "The French are open, familiar, and talkative; the Italians stiff, ceremonious, and reserved." (Addison)

6. Harsh; disagreeable; severe; hard to bear. "This is stiff news."

7. Bearing a press of canvas without careening much; as, a stiff vessel; opposed to crank.

8. Very large, strong, or costly; powerful; as, a stiff charge; a stiff price. Stiff neck, a condition of the neck such that the head can not be moved without difficulty and pain.

Synonyms: Rigid, inflexible, strong, hardly, stubborn, obstinate, pertinacious, harsh, formal, constrained, affected, starched, rigorous.

Origin: OE. Stif, AS. Stif; akin to D. Stijf, G. Steif, Dan. Stiv, Sw. Styf, Icel. Stifr, Lith. Stipti to be stiff; cf. L. Stipes a post, trunk of a tree, stipare to press, compress. Cf. Costive, Stifle, Stipulate, Stive to stuff.

(01 Mar 1998)

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