stiff

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See also: Stiff

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English stiff, stiffe, stif, from Old English stīf, from Proto-West Germanic *stīf, from Proto-Germanic *stīfaz, from Proto-Indo-European *steypós

See also West Frisian stiif, Dutch stijf, Norwegian Bokmål stiv, German steif; also Latin stīpes, stīpō, from which English stevedore.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /stɪf/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪf

Adjective[edit]

stiff (comparative stiffer, superlative stiffest)

  1. (of an object) Rigid; hard to bend; inflexible.
    • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, chapter IX, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      “A tight little craft,” was Austin’s invariable comment on the matron; []. ¶ Near her wandered her husband, orientally bland, invariably affable, and from time to time squinting sideways, as usual, in the ever-renewed expectation that he might catch a glimpse of his stiff, retroussé moustache.
    • 2008, BioWare, Mass Effect (Science Fiction), Redwood City: Electronic Arts, →ISBN, OCLC 246633669, PC, scene: Xawin:
      You have discovered the corpse of Captain Willem of the MSV Majesty. His stiff fingers are wrapped tightly around a small datapad.
  2. (figuratively, of policies and rules and their application and enforcement) Inflexible; rigid.
  3. (of a person) Formal in behavior; unrelaxed.
  4. (colloquial) Harsh, severe.
    He was eventually caught, and given a stiff fine.
    • 1961 February, “New English Electric diesels for East Africa”, in Trains Illustrated, page 90:
      To fit them for heavy loads on gradients as stiff as 1 in 45 in tropical conditions, these Class 90 diesels embody several unusual features, [...].
  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. (informal) Dead, deceased.
  8. (of the penis) Erect.
  9. Having a dense consistency; thick; (by extension) Difficult to stir.
    Adding too much peanut butter to your Peanut Sauce recipe may cause your sauce to turn out too stiff.
  10. (cooking, of whipping cream or egg whites) Beaten until so aerated that they stand up straight on their own.
    beat the egg whites until they are stiff
  11. (mathematics) Of an equation: for which certain numerical solving methods are numerically unstable, unless the step size is taken to be extremely small.
  12. (nautical) Keeping upright.
  13. (golf) Of a shot: landing so close to the flagstick that it should be very easy to sink the ball with the next shot.
    • 1968, William Price Fox, Southern Fried Plus Six: Short Works of Fiction (page 219)
      I go all out, go for the long ball, the stiff shots to the pin, aim for the back of the cup.
  14. (professional wrestling, of a strike) Delivered more forcefully than needed, whether intentionally or accidentally, thus causing legitimate pain to the opponent.

Quotations[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Noun[edit]

stiff (countable and uncountable, plural stiffs)

  1. (slang, chiefly Canada, US) An average person, usually male, of no particular distinction, skill, or education.
    lucky stiff
    • 1943, Ayn Rand, chapter IX, in The Fountainhead:
      The clerk shrugged: “That's the boss's little girl.” “Why, the lucky stiff!” said Keating. “He's been holding out on me.” “You misunderstood me,” the clerk said coldly. “It's his daughter. It's Dominique Francon.”
  2. (slang) 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.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:corpse, Thesaurus:body
  4. (slang) A flop; a commercial failure.
    • 1994, Andy Dougan, The actors' director: Richard Attenborough behind the camera (page 63)
      If the movie was a stiff it wasn't any of their specific faults. They were all in it together and they were jobbed in and jobbed out for two weeks and gone and they got a pile of money for their efforts.
    • 2016, Ralph J. Gleason, Toby Gleason, Music in the Air: The Selected Writings of Ralph J. Gleason
      They never did sell any records. I don't mean they didn't sell 100,000. I mean they didn't sell 5000. Total. National. Coast-to-coast. The record was a stiff.
  5. (US, slang) A person who leaves (especially a restaurant) without paying the bill.
  6. (US, slang, by extension) A customer who does not leave a tip.
  7. (blackjack) Any hard hand where it is possible to exceed 21 by drawing an additional card.
  8. (finance, slang) Negotiable instruments, possibly forged.
  9. (prison slang) A note or letter surreptitiously sent by an inmate.

Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  • (prison slang: a note or letter): 2015, Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of the Underworld: British and American (page 688); 2015, Noel 'Razor' Smith, The Criminal Alphabet: An A-Z of Prison Slang
  • (financial instruments): 1873, John Camden Hotten, The Slang Dictionary

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…].
  2. To cheat someone
    • 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.
  3. To tip ungenerously.
    • 2007, Mary Higgins Clark, I Heard That Song Before, page 154
      Then he stiffed the waiter with a cheap tip.

Translations[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Adjective[edit]

stiff

  1. Alternative form of stif

Adverb[edit]

stiff

  1. Alternative form of stif