Meaning of “stiffen” in the English Dictionary

(Definition of “stiffen” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"stiffen" in American English

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stiffenverb

us /ˈstɪf·ən/

stiffen verb (MAKE FIRM)

[ I/T ] to become or make something firm or more difficult to bend:

[ T ] To paint on linen, you first have to stiffen the fabric with a glue mixture.
[ I ] His back stiffened up after the game.

stiffen verb (MAKE SEVERE)

[ I/T ] to become or make something more severe or difficult :

[ T ] The measure would stiffen the penalties for driving without a license.
[ I ] Competition will stiffen considerably if another store opens in town.

stiffen verb (BECOME NERVOUS)

[ I ] to become nervous and less relaxed:

I stiffened when I saw him coming toward me.

(Definition of “stiffen” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)