Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “stiff”

See all translations

stiff

adjective uk   /stɪf/ us  

stiff adjective (FIRM)

B2 firm or hard: stiff cardboard a stiff collar His clothes were stiff with dried mud. This hair spray has made my hair stiff. Mix the powder and water into a stiff paste.B2 not easily bent or moved: The handle on this door is rather stiff. The man's body was (as) stiff as a board when it was found in the snow.B2 If you are stiff or part of your body is stiff, your muscles hurt when they are moved: Sitting still at a computer terminal all day can give you a stiff neck.
More examples

stiff adjective (NOT RELAXED)

C2 behaving in a way that is formal and not relaxed: The general is a tall man with steel spectacles and a stiff, rather pompous manner.

stiff adjective (SEVERE)

C2 severe and difficult: The athlete was given a stiff punishment for using drugs. They are campaigning for stiffer penalties for people who drink and drive. There has been stiff opposition/resistance to the proposed tax increases. It's a stiff climb to the top of the hill. Some college courses have stiffer entry requirements than others. Both companies are worried about losing business in the face of stiff competition.a stiff breeze/wind a strong winda stiff drink, brandy, gin, etc. C2 an alcoholic drink that is very strong: A stiff whisky - that's what I need. A stiff price is very expensive: We had to pay a stiff membership fee to join the health club.

stiff

adverb uk   /stɪf/ us  
B2 very much, or to a great degree: I got frozen stiff (= very cold) waiting at the bus stop. I was scared stiff when I heard someone moving around upstairs.

stiff

noun [C] uk   /stɪf/ us  

stiff noun [C] (PERSON)

US informal a person of the type described: a working stiff you lucky stiff

stiff noun [C] (BODY)

slang a dead body: They found a stiff in the river.

stiff

verb [T] uk   /stɪf/ us  
to cheat someone out of money: She stiffed the taxi driver.
(Definition of stiff from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of stiff?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “stiff” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

escapism

a way of avoiding an unpleasant or boring life, especially by thinking, reading, etc. about more exciting but impossible activities

Word of the Day

Lies, lies, lies!

by Kate Woodford,
February 25, 2015
​​​ According to sociologists (=people who study the relationships between people living in groups), we are good at lying. As a species, we have developed a remarkable ability to deceive each other (= persuade each other that something false is true). Being able to say things that are not true can help with

Read More 

showrooming noun

February 23, 2015
the activity of examining a product in a physical store and then making the purchase with an online retailer Amazon’s new smartphone is specifically designed to make showrooming fast and easy.

Read More