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From Middle English stiffenes, styffenesse, styfnesse; equivalent to stiff +‎ -ness. Perhaps merging with Middle English stithnesse, stithnysse, from Old English stīþness (stiffness).





stiffness (countable and uncountable, plural stiffnesses)

  1. Rigidity or a measure of rigidity.
  2. Inflexibility or a measure of inflexibility.
  3. Inelegance; a lack of relaxedness.
    His stiffness hampered the conversation.
    • 1699, William Temple, Heads designed for an essay on conversations[1]:
      Study gives strength to the mind; conversation, grace: the first apt to give stiffness, the other suppleness: one gives substance and form to the statue, the other polishes it.
  4. Muscular tension due to unaccustomed or excessive exercise or work; soreness.

Derived terms



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