stiff Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “stiff” in the English Dictionary

"stiff" in British English

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stiffadjective

uk   us   /stɪf/
  • stiff adjective (FIRM)

B2 firm or hard: stiff ​cardboard a stiff ​collar His ​clothes were stiff with ​driedmud. This ​hairspray has made my ​hair stiff. Mix the ​powder and ​water into a stiff ​paste.B2 not ​easilybent 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 ​yourbody is stiff, ​yourmuscleshurt when they are ​moved: Sitting still at a ​computerterminal all ​day can give you a stiff ​neck.

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  • stiff adjective (NOT RELAXED)

C2 behaving in a way that is ​formal and not ​relaxed: The ​general is a ​tall man with ​steelspectacles and a stiff, ​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 ​proposedtaxincreases. It's a stiff ​climb to the ​top of the ​hill. Some ​colleges have stiffer ​entryrequirements than ​others. Both ​companies are ​worried about ​losingbusiness in the ​face of stiff competition.a stiff breeze/wind a ​strongwinda stiff drink, brandy, gin, etc. C2 an ​alcoholicdrink that is very ​strong: A stiff ​whisky - that's what I need. A stiff ​price is very ​expensive: We had to ​pay a stiff ​membershipfee to ​join the ​healthclub.

stiffadverb

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

stiffnoun [C]

uk   us   /stɪf/

stiffverb [T]

uk   us   /stɪf/
to not ​pay someone ​money that you ​owe them : She stiffed the ​cabdriver.
(Definition of stiff from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"stiff" in American English

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stiffadjective

 us   /stɪf/
  • stiff adjective (FIRM)

[-er/-est only] firm or hard and not bending or ​movingeasily: He had stiff ​leathershoes on. If the ​dough is stiff, ​add more ​sourcream. [-er/-est only] If ​yourbody is stiff, you cannot move ​easily and ​yourmuscleshurt when moved: He was ​unable to ​turn his ​head because of a stiff ​neck.
  • stiff adjective (NOT RELAXED)

[-er/-est only] not ​relaxed or ​friendly; ​formal: The ​performance was stiff and ​ratherpredictable. You can’t be stiff with a ​guy who ​takes you into his ​confidence.
  • stiff adjective (SEVERE)

[-er/-est only] severe; ​difficult to ​deal with or do: The ​penalties for ​corruption are stiff. Most of the team’s ​losses have come against stiff ​competition.
  • stiff adjective (STRONG)

strong or ​powerful: A stiff ​windbeat against the ​house.

stiffadverb [not gradable]

 us   /stɪf/ infml
very much; to a ​greatdegree: I was ​scared stiff during the ​airraids.

stiffnoun [C]

 us   /stɪf/ slang
  • stiff noun [C] (PERSON)

a ​person of the ​typedescribed: I’m just a ​working stiff. You lucky stiff! slang A stiff is also a ​dead person’s ​body.

stiffverb [T]

 us   /stɪf/
  • stiff verb [T] (CHEAT)

to ​cheat someone out of ​money: She stiffed the ​taxidriver.
(Definition of stiff from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"stiff" in Business English

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stiffadjective

uk   us   /stɪf/
firm, hard, or not easily ​bent: We use stiff cardboard in all our ​packaging.
very ​strong or difficult to ​deal with: stiff opposition/resistance/competition There has been stiff opposition to the ​proposedtaxincreases.
very high: a stiff price/penalty/tariff Companies sometimes ​pay a stiff ​price for ​switchingCEOs. The ​minimuminvestment is a stiff $25,000.

stiffverb [T]

uk   us   /stɪf/ informal
to ​fail to ​pay someone ​money that you ​owe them, or to take more ​money from them than they ​owe: stiff sb out of sth Many ​temporaryworkers have ​experienced getting stiffed out of their ​pay. Who doesn't ​feel stiffed when they've ​overpaid?
(Definition of stiff from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“stiff” in Business English

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