Definition for STIFF'NESS


  1. Rigidness; want of pliableness or flexibility; the firm texture or state of a substance which renders it difficult to bend it; as, the stiffness of iron or wood; the stiffness of a frozen limb. – Bacon.
  2. Thickness; spissitude; a state between softness and hardness as, the stiffness of sirup, paste, size or starch.
  3. Torpidness; inaptitude to motion. An icy stiffness / Benumbs my blood. – Denham.
  4. Tension; as, the stiffness of a cord. – Dryden.
  5. Obstinacy; stubbornness; contumaciousness. The vices of old age have the stiffness of it too. – South. Stiffness of mind is not from adherence to truth, but submission to prejudice. – Locke.
  6. Formality of manner; constraint; affected precision. All this religion sat easily upon him, without stiffness and constraint. – Atterbury.
  7. Rigorousness; harshness. But speak no word to her of these sad plights, / Which her too constant stiffness doth constrain. – Spenser.
  8. Affected or constrained manner of expression or writing; want of natural simplicity and ease; as, stiffness of style.

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