stiff

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Old English stīf, from Proto-Germanic *stīfaz (compare Dutch stijf, German steif), from Proto-Indo-European *stīpos (compare Latin stipare, from which English stevedore).

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

stiff (comparative stiffer, superlative stiffest)

  1. Of an object, rigid, hard to bend, inflexible.
  2. (figuratively) Of policies and rules and their application and enforcement, inflexible.
  3. Of a person, formal in behavior, unrelaxed.
  4. (colloquial) Harsh, severe.
    He was eventually caught, and given a stiff fine.
  5. Of muscles, or parts of the body, painful, as a result of excessive, or unaccustomed exercise.
    My legs are stiff after climbing that hill yesterday.
  6. potent.
    A stiff drink; a stiff dose; a stiff breeze.
  7. dead, deceased.
  8. Of a penis, erect.

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Translations[edit]

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Noun[edit]

stiff (plural stiffs)

  1. An average person, usually male, of no particular distinction, skill, or education, often a working stiff or lucky stiff.
    A Working Stiff's Manifesto: A Memoir of Thirty Jobs I Quit, Nine That Fired Me, and Three I Can't Remember was published in 2003.
  2. A person who is deceived, as a mark or pigeon in a swindle.
    She convinced the stiff to go to her hotel room, where her henchman was waiting to rob him.
  3. (slang) A cadaver, a dead person.
  4. (US) A person who leaves (especially a restaurant) without paying the bill.

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Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

stiff (third-person singular simple present stiffs, present participle stiffing, simple past and past participle stiffed)

  1. To fail to pay that which one owes (implicitly or explicitly) to another, especially by departing hastily.
    Realizing he had forgotten his wallet, he stiffed the taxi driver when the cab stopped for a red light.
    • 1946, William Foote Whyte, Industry and Society, page 129
      We asked one girl to explain how she felt when she was "stiffed." She said, You think of all the work you've done and how you've tried to please [them…].
    • 1992, Stephen Birmingham, Shades of Fortune, page 451
      You see, poor Nonie really was stiffed by Adolph in his will. He really stiffed her, Rose, and I really wanted to right that wrong.
    • 2007, Mary Higgins Clark, I Heard That Song Before, page 154
      Then he stiffed the waiter with a cheap tip.

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