Definition of stiffen in English:

stiffen

verb

  • 1Make or become stiff or rigid.

    with object ‘he stiffened his knees in an effort to prevent them from trembling’
    no object ‘my back stiffens up and I can't bend’
    • ‘He suddenly stiffened up, looking at her as if he had just stepped across some kind of social boundary.’
    • ‘Her shoulders stiffened at his words, puzzling him.’
    • ‘Nicole followed my gaze, and I saw her visibly stiffen at the sight of her sister.’
    • ‘Hold a magnet nearby and the bits of iron will line up end-to-end; they form a rigid lattice that stiffens the mixture.’
    • ‘She tried to stand up, but her already tense muscles had stiffened considerably during the flight.’
    • ‘The smaller muscles in the face and between the fingers start stiffening between two and four hours after death.’
    • ‘That's impressive for a man his age - perhaps, like me, he has a bad back that stiffens up when he sits.’
    • ‘She grabbed my hand and my body stiffened even further.’
    • ‘I heard the deep rumble of Michael's voice and I immediately stiffened up.’
    • ‘He knows when to explode into the shot - when the defender is off balance or has stiffened his knees or has moved in too close.’
    • ‘Her body stiffened slightly at the mention of that name.’
    • ‘Did his face stiffen for a moment there or was it just my imagination?’
    • ‘His knee also stiffens up after training, so it needs sorting out because it's an annoying problem.’
    • ‘He looked at me, and even though he smiled, I could see his posture visibly stiffen.’
    • ‘The tallow and the beeswax was not able to be hardened and stiffened and this led to the invention of the moulding machine by Joseph Morgan in 1834.’
    • ‘For one precious moment the air filled with dragonfly hatchlings, their limp wings stiffening in the sun, performing aerobatic exercises before migrating down to the river.’
    • ‘The Queen heard it as well, for Margaret saw her shoulders stiffen almost imperceptibly.’
    • ‘She stiffened for a second, but then relaxed in his arms.’
    • ‘She tried to maneuver him to a dumpy sofa studded with a gaudy pattern of crimson roses, but Jack stiffened his knees.’
    • ‘He stiffened visibly, and stood there rigid, unsure of how to react.’
    become stiff, thicken
    become rigid, become stiff, make rigid, make stiff, tense, tense up, tighten, tauten
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Support or strengthen (a garment or fabric), typically by adding tape or an adhesive layer.
      • ‘The sealant stiffens the fabric and prevents the threads from showing through the stitching.’
      • ‘Thicker foam also will stiffen the base fabric more than thin foam and requires the stability of heavy fabric, such as denim.’
      • ‘The next essential garment was the corset stiffened with thin strips of whalebone.’
      • ‘He exaggerated the hips with panniered silk skirts, and skirts were stiffened into subtle bell shapes.’
    2. 1.2 Make or become stronger or more steadfast.
      with object ‘outrage over the murders stiffened the government's resolve to confront the Mafia’
      no object ‘the regime's resistance stiffened’
      • ‘Little opposition was encountered at first, but resistance stiffened along the Litani river and Vichy troops counter-attacked at Merjayun and Kuneitra.’
      • ‘Once the Allies were on German territory, enemy resistance stiffened.’
      • ‘Progressive Democrats revolted in the House caucus, stiffening resistance to the Republican bill.’
      • ‘Legislation that will stiffen the penalties for the offences of kidnapping and false imprisonment ought to be passed.’
      • ‘Japanese banks, besieged by requests to waive corporate debts, can stiffen their resolve to resist.’
      • ‘At the same time, the Israeli position has stiffened.’
      • ‘It took four hours for British paratroopers to reach the bridges on foot, by which time German resistance was already stiffening.’
      • ‘Although we could not get to Seville and be part of the 100,000-strong march, the events have only stiffened our determination in fighting capitalism.’
      • ‘And strikes can backfire: lack of public support can stiffen government resolve.’
      • ‘But as the Japanese imperium widened, Chinese resistance stiffened.’
      • ‘It's personal, and you can sense, amidst the all the uncertainty and trepidation, American resolve stiffening.’
      • ‘Half a dozen scandalous cases after 1780 illustrated the difficulties and stiffened foreign resistance to Chinese jurisdiction.’
      • ‘On the other hand, this intimate contact with war can stiffen your resolve.’
      • ‘We can hope for an early end to the destruction, but as resistance stiffens that prospect is by no means certain.’
      • ‘But Hitler's forces were regrouping, and as the Allies pushed nearer to Germany's borders, German resistance stiffened.’
      • ‘Total surprise was achieved, but resistance soon stiffened.’
      • ‘After the German Army was chased across France, resistance began to stiffen.’
      • ‘European governments are stiffening their resistance to war in Iraq in advance of the weapons inspectors' report to the United Nations security council tomorrow.’
      • ‘Politicians stiffen penalties, and the police increase man-hours and arrests.’
      strengthen, harden, toughen, fortify, give strength to, reinforce, brace, steel, give a boost to
      View synonyms

Pronunciation

stiffen

/ˈstɪfən//ˈstifən/