From Middle English stiff, stiffe, stif, from Old English stīf, from Proto-Germanic *stīfaz (compare West Frisian stiif, Dutch stijf, German steif), from Proto-Indo-European *steypós (compare Latin stīpes, stīpō, from which English stevedore).
stiff (comparative stiffer, superlative stiffest)
- (of an object) Rigid, hard to bend, inflexible.
- “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.
- (figuratively, of policies and rules and their application and enforcement) Inflexible; rigid.
- (of a person) Formal in behavior; unrelaxed.
- (colloquial) Harsh, severe.
He was eventually caught, and given a stiff fine.
- (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.
a stiff drink; a stiff dose; a stiff breeze.
- Dead, deceased.
- (of a penis) Erect.
- (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
- (mathematics) Of an equation: for which certain numerical solving methods are numerically unstable, unless the step size is taken to be extremely small.
of an object, rigid, hard to bend, inflexible
- Catalan: rígid
- Mandarin: 硬 (zh) (yìng)
- Dutch: rigide (nl), stug (nl), stijf (nl)
- Finnish: jäykkä (fi)
- French: rigide (fr) m, f, raide (fr) m, f
- German: steif (de), starr (de)
- Italian: rigido (it)
- Japanese: 硬い (ja) (かたい, katai)
- Korean: 딱딱한 (ttakttakhan)
- Latvian: stīvs, stings, stingrs
- Norman: rigide m, f
- Bokmål: stiv (no)
- Nynorsk: stiv
- Polish: sztywny (pl)
- Portuguese: rígido (pt), duro (pt), inflexível (pt), rijo (pt), hirto (pt), firme (pt)
- Russian: жёсткий (ru) (žóstkij), неги́бкий (ru) (negíbkij), твёрдый (ru) (tvjórdyj)
- Scottish Gaelic: rag
- Lower Sorbian: pšosty
- Spanish: rígido (es) m, duro (es) m, tieso (es) m, inflexible (es) m, f
- Swedish: stel (sv)
- Volapük: stifik (vo)
figuratively: of policies and rules and their application and enforcement
of a person, formal in behavior, unrelaxed
colloquial: harsh, severe
of muscles, or parts of the body
- 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.
Translations to be checked
stiff (plural stiffs)
- 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.
- 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.
- (slang) A cadaver, a dead person.
- (US) A person who leaves (especially a restaurant) without paying the bill.
- (blackjack) Any hard hand where it is possible to exceed 21 by drawing an additional card.
average person, usually male
slang: cadaver, dead person
US: person who leaves without paying the bill
- Japanese: (informal) 食い逃げ (kui-nige); (eats without money, does not matter if he/she leaves): (formal) 無銭飲食 (musen-inshoku)
stiff (third-person singular simple present stiffs, present participle stiffing, simple past and past participle stiffed)
- 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…].
- 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.
- to tip ungenerously
- 2007, Mary Higgins Clark, I Heard That Song Before, page 154
- Then he stiffed the waiter with a cheap tip.
to fail to pay money one owes