1. Not easily bent; not flexible or pliant; not limber or flaccid; rigid; firm; as, stiff wood, paper, joints. [They] rising on stiff pennons, tower The mid aerial sky. (milton)
2. Not liquid or fluid; thick and tenacious; inspissated; neither soft nor hard; as, the paste is stiff.
3. Firm; strong; violent; difficult to oppose; as, a stiff gale or breeze.
4. Not easily subdued; unyielding; stubborn; obstinate; pertinacious; as, a stiff adversary. It is a shame to stand stiff in a foolish argument. (Jer. Taylor) A war ensues: the Cretans own their cause, Stiff to defend their hospitable laws. (Dryden)
5. Not natural and easy; formal; constrained; affected; starched; as, stiff behavior; a stiff style. The french are open, familiar, and talkative; the Italians stiff, ceremonious, and reserved. (Addison)
6. Harsh; disagreeable; severe; hard to bear. This is stiff news.
7. Bearing a press of canvas without careening much; as, a stiff vessel; opposed to crank.
8. Very large, strong, or costly; powerful; as, a stiff charge; a stiff price. Stiff neck, a condition of the neck such that the head can not be moved without difficulty and pain.
Synonym: Rigid, inflexible, strong, hardly, stubborn, obstinate, pertinacious, harsh, formal, constrained, affected, starched, rigorous.
Origin: OE. Stif, AS. Stif; akin to D. Stijf, G. Steif,
Dan. Stiv, Sw. Styf, Icel. Stifr, Lith. Stipti to be stiff; cf. L. Stipes a post, trunk of a tree, stipare to press, compress. Cf. Costive, Stifle, Stipulate, Stive to stuff.