Definition for STIFF

STIFF, a. [Sax. stif; G. steif; D. and Sw. styf; Dan. stiv; allied to L. stipo, stabilis, Eng. staple, Gr. στιφρος, στιβιαω, στειβω.]

  1. Not easily bent; not flexible or pliant; not flaccid; rigid applicable to any substance; as, stiff wood; stiff paper; cloth stiff with starch; a limb stiff with frost. They, rising on stiff pinions, tower / The mid aerial sky. – Milton.
  2. Not liquid or fluid; thick and tenacious; inspissated not soft nor hard. Thus melted metals grow stiff as the cool; they are stiff before they are hard. The paste is too stiff, or not stiff enough.
  3. Strong; violent; impetuous in motion; as in seamen's language, a stiff gale or breeze.
  4. Hardy; stubborn; not easily subdued. How stiff my vile sense! – Shak.
  5. Obstinate; pertinacious; firm in perseverance or resistance. It is a shame to stand stiff a foolish argument. – Taylor. A war ensues; the Cretans own their cause, / Stiff to defend their hospitable laws. – Dryden.
  6. Harsh; formal; constrained; not natural and easy; a stiff formal style.
  7. Formal in manner; constrained; affected; starched; not easy or natural; as, stiff behavior. The French are open, familiar and talkative; the Italians stiff ceremonious and reserved. – Addison.
  8. Strongly maintained, or asserted with good evidence. This is stiff news. – Shak.
  9. In seamen's language, a stiff vessel is one that will bear sufficient sail without danger of oversetting.

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