Definition of stiff in US English:



  • 1Not easily bent or changed in shape; rigid.

    ‘a stiff black collar’
    ‘stiff cardboard’
    • ‘While indoors, place a piece of the paper on stiff cardboard.’
    • ‘If an electric fan is not feasible, try to fan the seedling with a piece of stiff paper or cardboard a couple of times a day.’
    • ‘Arterial damage affects the elasticity of arteries, which become stiff and rigid.’
    • ‘She didn't move from her spot at all and looked as rigid and stiff as a statue even as her eyes watered from the smoke.’
    • ‘Scrape away as much wax as you can using your finger, a plastic kitchen scraper, or a stiff piece of cardboard.’
    • ‘The collar of the stiff shirt was chafing slightly around the scars on his neck, and the ponytail he'd put his hair in was so tight it was liable to give him a headache.’
    • ‘He's wearing a white shirt with a stiff collar, black trousers with braces, and dancing shoes with leather spats.’
    • ‘As he said this, I indeed felt my arms become rigid and stiff.’
    • ‘The duo have dispensed with plastic CD casings and fashioned their covers from stiff cardboard.’
    • ‘Another image shows him in black coat, pale trousers, stiff white collar, and hat.’
    • ‘He wore a long black cloak over a fine-pressed suit, with a high stiff collar.’
    • ‘For example, tubing made from cobalt alloys can be used in the production of rigid or stiff endoscopes for use in certain diagnostic procedures.’
    • ‘The pants were stiff, inflexible, and suffered the same problem.’
    • ‘The plans are in PDF format for easy printing and pasting onto stiff cardboard.’
    • ‘By breaking in your shoes at home, you won't be at the center struggling through games in stiff, rigid shoes the first time out.’
    • ‘He rolled his shoulders, trying to loosen them up from the stiff black tux he was wearing.’
    • ‘The pile will be stiff and easily scratch away when it's ready.’
    • ‘The stiff black rubber fins allowed bodysurfers to catch bigger waves, then angle across their faces.’
    • ‘His brother certainly looked uncomfortable in his city clothes, pulling constantly at his stiff collar.’
    • ‘If your elbows get too straight they will be stiff and you can easily get pulled out of the saddle.’
    rigid, hard, firm, hardened, inelastic, non-flexible, inflexible, ungiving
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    1. 1.1 (of a semiliquid substance) viscous; thick.
      ‘add wheat until the mixture is quite stiff’
      • ‘The water content of doughnut mixtures is important; the dough must be stiff enough to be shaped, but still contain plenty of moisture to give the light spongy texture of the cooked product.’
      • ‘In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until thick and stiff.’
      • ‘Whip the cream in a large chilled bowl until lusciously thick but not stiff.’
      • ‘Mix together roughly four tablespoons of flour and one tablespoon of water with enough water to form a paste - a thick, stiff paste will give you a raised cross and a looser paste will give you a flat cross.’
      • ‘If the dough is too stiff a little more coconut milk could be added.’
      • ‘Whisk together the double and single cream until thick, but not stiff: this takes longer than usual because of the addition of the single cream.’
      • ‘While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes.’
      • ‘In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until firm but not stiff, and fold the two mixtures together.’
    2. 1.2 Not moving as freely as is usual or desirable; difficult to turn or operate.
      ‘a stiff drawer’
      ‘the faucet in the shower is a little stiff’
      • ‘It is harder for them to dress in and out of equipment, propel themselves through the water and operate stiff power inflators or releases, for example.’
      • ‘Typical aging of these windows involves corrosion of the metal, stiff operation, inability to close and multiple layers of paint.’
    3. 1.3 (of a person or part of the body) unable to move easily and without pain.
      ‘he was stiff from sitting on the desk’
      ‘a stiff back’
      • ‘Her entire body was stiff and sore, and she was cold to the bone.’
      • ‘He stood up, stretching limbs that had become stiff from the cramped surroundings.’
      • ‘He sat up and grimaced a little because his back ached, his entire body was stiff and his feet were cold.’
      • ‘I had slept cramped up on a wooden floor, and my whole body was now stiff.’
      • ‘As I woke up, my whole body was sore and stiff from all the pain and the prolonged exposure to the rough surface of the rooftop.’
      • ‘The goal of treatment is to control pain, to prevent joints from losing motion, and to help already stiff joints move more easily.’
      • ‘He was weak and his aching body was still stiff from the beating.’
      • ‘My legs were stiff and a little sore from sitting still so long.’
      • ‘I found that the hardest thing in my quest to lose weight and get fit was the pain - I was so stiff at first.’
      • ‘Her body was stiff and her joints screamed with every movement, but she knew that movement would do her good.’
      • ‘‘My body was very stiff at first especially because of my old age,’ Shen said.’
      • ‘A little into the morning saw all of us grimacing over our stiff bodies - the outcome of the previous day's water pursuits!’
      • ‘His entire body was stiff and sore from his less than ideal sleeping conditions.’
      • ‘My body was stiff and sore from the rest I got while belaying.’
      • ‘His muscles were stiff and sore, and his body was tired.’
      • ‘Now that the adrenaline had worn off, and I had sat for a minute, my whole body was stiff and sore.’
      • ‘With intuitive insight, they will begin to recognize when their body is stiff, sore, tired or emotionally drained.’
      aching, achy, painful
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    4. 1.4 (of a person or their manner) not relaxed or friendly; constrained.
      ‘she greeted him with stiff politeness’
      • ‘Through the primaries, everyone said he could be aloof and cold, stiff and ambitious.’
      • ‘They come across as stiff and uninteresting, but that's exactly what the director wants from them.’
      • ‘We discontinued our love charade, even with Rod present, and never gave more than a stiff and polite nod of greeting to one another.’
      • ‘Her tone is stiff and distant, and he doesn't answer, something she finds unsettling.’
      • ‘If you appear stiff, reserved, timid and insecure, they will feel repulsed.’
      • ‘Mel had never particularly liked the woman's stiff manner and perfect outward appearance.’
      • ‘They'd been distant and stiff with each other since the truth about the bet had come out.’
      • ‘Corrissa's stiff manner left her, and she ran frantically towards the door and immediately started pounding on it.’
      • ‘He is stiff, self-conscious, grudging, coy and ungenerous.’
      • ‘I also thought that the two of us needed to learn to relax around each other, for we had grown to be much too stiff and serious than friends should be.’
      • ‘He was sincere but he was not adept at consolation so it came out stiff, wooden.’
      • ‘You have a melancholy disposition resulting in a shyness, or a formal and stiff manner of presenting yourself.’
      • ‘He seems to be a rather stiff and aloof character.’
      • ‘Is he going to come across as stiff and wooden, or is he going to come across as a person that Americans can trust?’
      • ‘Dancing with Angelique was difficult at first, she refused to get to close to him, and was stiff and cold.’
      • ‘He was the only one not stiff and unresponsive with worry.’
      • ‘Continuing in his stiff, impassive way, Chris lifted Dion onto the rotten chair and wrapped the ropes around him and the chair.’
      • ‘First it suddenly hit her that she was stiff, even snappish, towards everyone but her closest friends, Mick and Reardon.’
      • ‘And although both Ruth and Colin are playing stiff British characters, they do manage some convincing chemistry.’
      • ‘Once relaxed and happy, Lena now seemed stiff, like a drill sergeant or something.’
      formal, reserved, unfriendly, chilly, cold, frigid, icy, austere, unrelaxed, brittle, stand-offish, wooden, forced, constrained, strained, stilted
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  • 2Severe or strong.

    ‘they face stiff fines and a possible jail sentence’
    ‘a stiff increase in taxes’
    • ‘This can be done, in part anyway, by stiff taxes on carbon dioxide emissions.’
    • ‘The fine should be stiff, possibly around Rs. 1,000.’
    • ‘Even the most stiff nominal tax rate would turn out to be a very meager tax burden for landowners.’
    • ‘The line, a reference to their recent stiff increases in license fees for cable operators, drew laughter and applause.’
    • ‘But the new rates put a premium on using those accounts for investments that would otherwise face stiff taxes - like bonds.’
    • ‘He was tried and found guilty by a British Consular Court: his punishment was a stiff fine and probation with a stern warning to desist.’
    • ‘"This is a fairly stiff penalty for what we did," said Norris.’
    • ‘I still see a lot of people here using their phones normally here, but the fines are fairly stiff if you are caught.’
    • ‘Stiff penalties are to be introduced for people who make bogus insurance claims.’
    • ‘They got fined $100 million which is a stiff fine by the Federal Reserve.’
    • ‘Individuals who decided not to take up the offer of making a voluntary disclosure will face prosecution, as well as stiff bills for tax, interest and penalties.’
    • ‘The lawyers are arguing that that fine is just too stiff.’
    • ‘Despite a variety of strong protections and stiff penalties for violations, this law continues to fall short of its target.’
    • ‘By insisting, however, on such a stiff income tax rate, the allied powers had created ample opportunities for the scheme just described.’
    • ‘Because of the stiff penalties for second children, many couples have unregistered babies.’
    • ‘After getting no less than two fines and a stiff warning from the electoral committee, they were found to have gone over the allowed limit of their budget.’
    • ‘That commission recommended stiff increases in the payroll tax to create a surplus that would help fund the retirement of baby boomers down the road.’
    • ‘The relocation to suburbs in Dublin also allowed them avoid paying stiff city taxes.’
    • ‘Any member that exceeds the 3% limit has two years in which to bring its deficit down, or it will face stiff fines from the Commission.’
    • ‘The league should be proud of that, not hiding behind stiff fines and harsh rhetoric.’
    harsh, severe, hard, punitive, punishing, stringent, swingeing, crippling, rigorous, drastic, strong, heavy, draconian
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    1. 2.1 (of a wind) blowing strongly.
      ‘a stiff breeze stirring the lake’
      • ‘Although the temperature hovered in the forties, a stiff wind had picked up.’
      • ‘It's obvious that the surface here is quite stable: even when stiff winds blow, there's hardly a speck of dust raised.’
      • ‘A stiff wind blew through the woods, ruffling their hair.’
      • ‘Fortunately, I'm currently in the midst of sobering up a little before I go to sleep, thanks to the stiff breeze blowing in through my bedroom window.’
      • ‘A stiff wind had kept up all night and she'd slept bad.’
      • ‘A fairly stiff breeze was blowing, but the branches of the willow trees never swayed.’
      • ‘A stiff wind did nothing to dampen the atmosphere at a great day's racing at Lacken Strand on Sunday, May 19th.’
      • ‘The Pope, who aides say is losing sleep over the possibility of war, celebrated a Mass that began with a stiff wind blowing in from Siberia over the flat steppes and ended in sunshine.’
      • ‘It will shatter, and then a stiff wind will blow though, and the pieces will slowly fall and scatter.’
      • ‘In a traditional yurt, the framework is covered with felt mats and tied down with hair ropes to prevent the mats from blowing off in stiff winds.’
      • ‘But I am daunted at the challenges that paddling up-stream against an out-going tide and against a stiff wind must present.’
      • ‘I was getting used to the cold when I heard a sound in the distance, looked up, and saw the first signs of a stiff wind working its way toward me.’
      • ‘It was a consummate display of rugby into a stiff wind.’
      • ‘The last two miles on the home stretch were tough, with a few hills and a stiff wind but all got home safe without any falls.’
      • ‘The last two mile on the home stretch was tough, a few hills and a stiff wind.’
      • ‘This game was played in horrid conditions and the stiff breeze that blew from one corner flag to the other made point taking arduous even at the best of times.’
      • ‘As he spoke, it seemed the gods were heeding the many prayers at the Cork venue, as the sun shone brightly and a stiff wind blew on the opening day.’
      • ‘Invariably, we were buffeted by a stiff wind which left you red-faced but invigorated.’
      • ‘A stiff breeze was blowing from the town end, to the Rangers' advantage.’
      • ‘In a stiff wind on a gathering sea, they would have all the stability of a tin tray.’
      strong, vigorous, powerful, brisk, fresh, gusty
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    2. 2.2 Requiring strength or effort; difficult.
      ‘a long stiff climb up the bare hillside’
      • ‘A stiff ride on the flats along a creek-bed exhilarated him and sharpened his bloodlust.’
      • ‘However, they have the foundations of what will provide a stiff challenge for the county's elite forces.’
      • ‘Still, the game proved an outstanding one and would have brought the Mayo players on a lot and ready for the stiff challenge that the Ulster champions will provide.’
      • ‘Naturally, there is some stiff opposition waiting for you at nearly every turn.’
      • ‘From there a very stiff climb through what is still called ‘Sullivan road’ took us to Kundhesappe and then to Doddabetta foothill.’
      • ‘I would recommend doing between eight and 12 repetitions on a fairly stiff hill about 800 metres long.’
      • ‘You can drive to the base of the rock but it is a fairly stiff climb from there, although it only takes about five minutes.’
      • ‘Since the club opened it has notched up wins against some very stiff competition.’
      • ‘The mens team also faces a stiff challenge when they take on Club Amber.’
      • ‘Once more, firm sand provided a gentle walking surface until almost the end of the beach, where we rested before the short but stiff climb to the heathland above the cliffs.’
      • ‘The news of increase in sales tax on diesel had met with stiff resistance from petrol pump dealers, who had threatened to go on a strike in protest against it.’
      • ‘Needless to say, what sounds like a reasonable idea met with stiff resistance.’
      • ‘The course was cruel to the runners, presenting them with with five stiff hill climbs to negotiate in the last 15 km.’
      • ‘It turned out to be a rewarding trip as they overcame the stiff challenge of their Wicklow opponents.’
      • ‘However, outside of China, in Japan for instance, such an effort will meet stiff resistance from habit users and from simple economic forces.’
      • ‘Dave, the lodge manager, sets a stiff pace uphill.’
      • ‘Mind you, it's up against stiff competition from University Challenge.’
      • ‘And walkers, too, are in for some pretty stiff challenges once they leave the paths.’
      • ‘Be prepared for a stiff climb, but the sundial and the view of Houghton and Hillbrow is worth the huffing and puffing.’
      • ‘Recent, but unconfirmed reports, suggests the stiff competition and generally tough trading conditions has not been as bad as previously expected.’
      difficult, hard, arduous, tough, strenuous, laborious, uphill, exacting, demanding, formidable, challenging, punishing, back-breaking, gruelling, herculean
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    3. 2.3 (of an alcoholic drink) strong.
      ‘a stiff measure of brandy’
      • ‘She calmed down only after a stiff drink at the reception.’
      • ‘I don't drink at lunchtime but I like a stiff whisky at 6.30 in the evening and perhaps another later on.’
      • ‘Keats spluttered and coughed to full wakefulness, and steadied himself with a stiff brandy.’
      • ‘We dropped his car off, and then drove over to the pub and continued with another couple of stiff drinks.’
      • ‘I fancy a stiff drink this lunchtime to steady my nerves!’
      • ‘I don't know why - I'm not a smoker but a stiff drink and a cigarette seemed to take my mind off the events for a moment.’
      • ‘Bowles reassures her with a stiff whisky and a clipped certainty that everything will be back to normal tomorrow.’
      • ‘His disgust with himself and his actions inspired the need for a stiff drink.’
      • ‘By the end of the evening, most of my guests had settled back into their seats with satisfied grins and a stiff drink or smoke in hand as ordering took place.’
      • ‘And it's been the kind of week so far that makes you want a nice stiff drink.’
      • ‘She could do with a stiff drink after all the riding and running she'd done today.’
      • ‘I'm going to go have a stiff drink and try to forget I ever heard about this.’
      • ‘She shut the door, sealing herself off from the noise, and poured herself a stiff drink.’
      • ‘We banned all the men while we were doing the photo shoot and had a stiff drink afterwards.’
      • ‘Alternatively, drop anchor, pour a stiff drink and soak up the sun!’
      • ‘I'm going to go home and walk my dog and hug my wife and maybe get a good Mexican meal and a stiff margarita and a full night's sleep.’
      • ‘I suspect we may all need a stiff drink by the time this is over.’
      • ‘Someday I'm going to think about all the time I've wasted and need a stiff drink.’
      • ‘The General was pouring himself a stiff brandy with shaking hands.’
      strong, potent, alcoholic, spirituous, intoxicant
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  • 3stiff withinformal predicative Full of.

    ‘the place is stiff with alarm systems’
  • 4— stiffinformal Having a specified unpleasant feeling to an extreme extent.

    ‘she was scared stiff’
    ‘I was bored stiff with my project’
    • ‘I cannot speak for Xander, but I was still scared stiff.’
    • ‘Actually, they look bored stiff, but you see his point.’
    • ‘She sipped coffee from a Styrofoam cup and sat on the bed, bored stiff.’
    • ‘I couldn't be a model nowadays, I'd be bored stiff.’
    • ‘Much of the public was and still is scared stiff of crime.’
    • ‘But only the father cares enough to make sure he's scared stiff not to do something like that again.’
    • ‘Fulner sat in his chair for a few moments, scared stiff, before regaining his composure and speaking.’
    • ‘One is that much of the public is scared stiff of crime.’
    • ‘It might be fun and it would certainly beat sitting here bored stiff!’
    • ‘"They'll see that in the paper and think I'm scared stiff," he said.’
    • ‘While my heart had wanted so much to stay with him, to never leave him, my mind was still scared stiff of getting close to anyone and had needed to get far away.’
    • ‘She was worn out, scared stiff, her heart was beating furiously, and her lungs were screaming in protest with every breath of icy air she inhaled.’
    • ‘I swerved to the left, scared stiff at what had just happened.’
    • ‘It was obvious these guys were scared stiff of something, but what?’
    • ‘He sent an ambulance to me, and while I waited for it, I sat on the curb, scared stiff, clutching a matted, long-haired tabby cat.’
    • ‘Everything I had thought to be possible was true, and I didn't know whether to feel relieved or scared stiff.’
    • ‘Andy pleaded from the hallway seeming utterly scared stiff.’
  • 5Bridge
    A card that is the only one of its suit in a hand.

    ‘two red aces and a stiff club’


  • 1A dead body.

    • ‘There's a whole craft industry based on vehicles for transferring stiffs from the chapel to the boneyard.’
    • ‘When the bodies of various stiffs start disappearing from the local morgue, the police are baffled as to where they've gone.’
    • ‘A friend of my father's worked for the London Transport Police and part of his job involved scraping stiffs off the tracks.’
    corpse, cadaver, dead body, body, remains, skeleton, relics
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  • 2North American A boring, conventional person.

    ‘ordinary working stiffs in respectable offices’
    • ‘The cops weren't hugely heroic figures, but working stiffs, not even remotely glamorous.’
    • ‘True, more than a few stiffs have taken cover behind the blue shirt down the years, and several others could have made a fair living selling it, but none went as far as the ultimate sacrifice.’
    • ‘Don't trust that future working stiffs will pay your way - the system may be entirely different by then!’
    • ‘Most of the politicians are sensibly out of town, but the poor working stiffs hardly get away at all.’
    • ‘With all that cash tucked under the mattress, it is not easy for a working stiff to understand why he wants to do an Edinburgh show.’
    • ‘And instead of the magic of the performers feeding on the collective, often irrational consciousness of a celebratory theatre crowd, you've now got actors singing for their supper in front of row upon row of wealthy stiffs.’
    • ‘Four working stiffs shack up to make the greatest rock record of recent times.’
    • ‘So, unlike the bigwigs who cashed in big on stock options, look for him to remain a working stiff.’
    • ‘Never have the ordinary people of America, the decent, working stiffs, needed and deserved a great tribute more urgently.’
    • ‘I've always thought of him as a rather dull-witted stiff.’
    • ‘Never once do you buy him as a beat down working class stiff who just needs a break to get what he more or less rightfully deserves.’
    • ‘He is on great terms with all the working stiffs and is a popular executive.’
    • ‘This comes from a working class stiff who has a 14-year old son who skates.’
    • ‘They performed lewd acts, taunted the police, harassed the stiffs and produced great art.’
    • ‘But, hey: grin and bear it, because at least you're not hanging out with those stiffs from work, right?’
    • ‘But working stiffs who slave all day to pay the Hydro bills can sometimes barely get a peek out the window as the circus rolls by.’
    • ‘At least the kids in the first one had chemistry; here the cheerleaders are dull and the dudes are stiffs.’
    • ‘Well, if you're a typical working stiff in today's corporate world, you're not getting any bargains from the big executives upstairs.’
    • ‘I guess working stiffs like their comedians to be aggressively stupid and insultingly formulaic.’
    • ‘He looks like he's going to be your typical good looking stiff, but once he gets to talk a bit, he is quite natural and has some comic skills.’
    1. 2.1 A fellow; an ordinary person.
      ‘the lucky stiff!’
      • ‘I would issue a fiat that the NFL has to change its overtime rule, so that both teams must be given a chance to score, not just the lucky stiffs who win the coin flip.’


[with object]informal
  • 1North American Cheat (someone) out of something, especially money.

    ‘several workers were stiffed out of their pay’
    • ‘Chances are that he wants to stiff you for the deposit and then he will have it patched.’
    • ‘God only knows in what other ways they are stiffing society.’
    • ‘However, the high-living deadbeat dad who stiffs his kids is largely a mythical creature.’
    • ‘The claim here is that even if the system does not go bankrupt, future retirees still will be stiffed because the trust fund has been looted repeatedly by previous presidents to finance their pet political projects.’
    • ‘So if the insurance companies are going to stiff Americans when it comes to affordable prescription drugs, somebody has to do the job.’
    • ‘I don't want to stiff her if she's due a partial fee, but I'm afraid that if I let her know she'll try to overcharge me.’
    • ‘And when you stiff the person, not sending them any drugs or explosives at all - that's all profit right there.’
    • ‘If people are unaware, it is a crime to stiff people on wages, even the homeless.’
    • ‘In the past, East Baghdad has been stiffed and not given its fair share.’
    • ‘I got stiffed the first (and, consequently, only) time I participated in one of those Secret Santa wish list things.’
    • ‘One show I saw involved a woman who'd stiffed an appliance store on a refrigerator and then had the gall to sue it for harassment when it tried to collect.’
    • ‘As we noted last night, he seems to have stiffed the Times.’
    • ‘We do know they have been steadily alienating your regular customers, stiffing them on money owed, making a terrible mess of the legitimate business, while all the while on paper your company is soaring.’
    • ‘So, just out of curiosity, did anyone else get stiffed by their Secret Santa?’
    • ‘After the media glare faded, the team was stiffed for $43,000 of the prize money.’
    • ‘I'd love to sign up for the Secret Santa thing this year, too, but I got stiffed last year, so it sort of left a bad taste in my mouth.’
    • ‘She was upset after being stiffed for $11 by her employer, a white woman for whom she worked as a maid.’
    • ‘Workers, in other words, will be stiffed again.’
    • ‘Did they think he would just disappear after the press conference got stiffed by the media?’
    • ‘The sellers will have to show that the selling entities received fair value and that the transaction had economic substance above and beyond merely stiffing their creditors.’
    swindle, defraud, deceive, trick, dupe, hoodwink, double-cross, gull
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Fail to leave (someone) a tip.
      • ‘Every morning the same four guys came in, ate the same eggs-and-potatoes configurations, repeated the same harangue about how I was personally responsible for their lack of overtime, and stiffed me.’
      • ‘However, I have never ever completely stiffed a waitress/waiter as much as I would have liked to.’
      • ‘"Sending a message" by stiffing a rude waiter or bellhop does not work.’
      • ‘If you leave a quarter you might as well be stiffing me.’
      • ‘Another spends 10 minutes squatting by the table, recounting how his previous tables stiffed him when the computers overheated and meals didn't arrive on time.’
      • ‘I can tell you I never stiffed a waiter in a French restaurant.’
  • 2North American Ignore deliberately; snub.

    • ‘And in this case, he was very interested in all of the questions, did not stiff them or brush them off.’
    • ‘And the two best ways to keep people stupid and nodding is by shutting down the information flow and by stiffing the press.’
    • ‘Does the outcome of the recall show that you can get away with bypassing, stiffing, and otherwise not engaging the mainstream media and still get elected governor of California?’
    • ‘He had stiffed the United Nations many, many times.’
    • ‘But having stiffed the world and threatened U.S. allies, they may be rewarded with trade, aid and the global respect they've coveted for decades.’
    • ‘He stiffed me because he wanted to hang out with his buddies and smoke.’
    • ‘But to follow up on Bernie's question, does the vice president pay a price for stiffing the press as he has done for two months now?’
    • ‘He was also stiffing the White House press corps.’
    • ‘And on that very point, is it reasonable for journalists to be criticizing him for basically staying silent, saying nothing, and stiffing the press for seven long weeks?’
    • ‘And yet, he stiffed the police for a couple of months and, even to this day, has not spoken out publicly.’
    insult, slight, affront, humiliate, treat disrespectfully
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Fail to appear for a promised engagement or appointment.
      ‘he stiffed us and didn't show up’
  • 3Kill.

    ‘I want to get those pigs who stiffed your doctor’
    murder, cause the death of, end the life of, take the life of, do away with, make away with, assassinate, do to death, eliminate, terminate, dispatch, finish off, put to death, execute
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    1. 3.1no object Be unsuccessful.
      ‘as soon as he began singing about the wife and kids, his albums stiffed’
      • ‘I'll bet you his last album was more successful than an American superstar whose last album stiffed.’
      • ‘All right, but are they secretly pleased that her most recent single stiffed at number 52?’
      • ‘Ultimately, we wound up doing one television show as guild members, the record started stiffing and the band broke up.’
      • ‘A few more singles stiffed in 1965/66 before the band ground to a halt sometime in 1967.’
      • ‘It stiffed, but his performance sticks in the memory and it's that ability which will see him through any critical fall-out.’
      • ‘A publisher paid an advance of more than $500,000 for it, it became a book that attracted rave reviews, and it stiffed in its first week.’
      • ‘The press created this New Glam thing with Verve and Suede but our third single stiffed and eventually we were dropped.’
      • ‘Every bit as ghastly as it sounds, it stiffed completely.’


  • stiff as a board

    • informal (of a person or part of the body) extremely stiff.

      • ‘He uttered a faint, choking gasp, and toppled over backwards, stiff as a board.’
      • ‘He nodded and reached for her shoulder and found it to be as stiff as a board.’
      • ‘By the time I hit the beginning of Toronto my feet were killing me and I was stiff as a board all over.’
      • ‘Dustin fought to stay up, to stay stiff as a board, but eventually the bear succeeded in knocking him over.’
      • ‘I made my back as stiff as a board, glaring the whole while at the poor boy.’
      • ‘She looked tired with dark circles beneath her eyes and she was as stiff as a board, trying to fight the pain.’
      • ‘He was shocked, so much so that he was holding his breath and was as stiff as a board.’
      • ‘The first sign of her low mood was that she was actually slouching and not sitting as stiff as a board, as she usually did.’
      • ‘He put his arms around her and at first she resisted in the only way she could: by remaining stiff as a board.’
      • ‘He would lay in his bed flat on his back, stiff as a board, tightly clutching his blanket with the fingers of both hands.’
  • a stiff upper lip

    • A quality of uncomplaining stoicism.

      ‘senior managers had to keep a stiff upper lip and remain optimistic’
      • ‘But, if the governing class goes about business as usual, that's not a stiff upper lip but a death wish.’
      • ‘Upper-class Englishmen pride themselves on discretion and a stiff upper lip, deeply unfashionable human qualities in these tabloid times.’
      • ‘Then, as now, the Londoners had a stiff upper lip.’
      • ‘Other Americans are told to keep a stiff upper lip.’
      • ‘It is quite humorous to see the actors work through their lines with a stiff upper lip - even they can't seem to believe what they are being asked to say.’
      • ‘At least I don't have to keep a stiff upper lip anymore.’
      • ‘Most of the women were crying, but I kept a stiff upper lip.’
      • ‘But aren't news people supposed to keep a stiff upper lip?’
      • ‘Keeping a stiff upper lip during such tribulations, she writes, is what one must do.’
      • ‘I should keep a stiff upper lip and take the high road and all that, so I will.’


Old English stīf, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch stijf.