American Dictionary of the English Language

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STIFF, adjective [Gr.]

1. Not easily bent; not flexible or pliant; not flaccid; rigid; applicable to any substance; as stiff wood; stiff paper; cloth stiff with starch; a limb stiff with frost.

They, rising on stiff pinions, tower the mid aerial sky.

2. Not liquid or fluid; thick and tenacious; inspissated; not soft nor hard. Thus melted metals grow stiff as they cool; they are stiff before they are hard. The paste is too stiff or not stiff enough.

3. Strong; violent; impetuous in motion; as in seamens language, a stiff gale or breeze.

4. Hardy; stubborn; not easily subdued.

How stiff is my vile sense!

5. Obstinate; pertinacious; firm in perseverance or resistance.

It is a shame to stand stiff in a foolish argument.

A war ensues; the Cretans own their cause, stiff to defend their hospitable laws.

6. Harsh; formal; constrained; not natural and easy; as a stiff formal style.

7. Formal in manner; constrained; affected; starched; not easy or natural; as stiff behavior.

The French are open, familiar and talkative; the Italians stiff ceremonious and reserved.

8. Strongly maintained, or asserted with good evidence.

This is stiff news.

9. In seamens language, a stiff vessel is one that will bear sufficient sail without danger of oversetting.