AskDefine | Define stiff

Dictionary Definition

stiff adj
1 lacking ease in bending; not limber; "a stiff neck"; "stiff joints"; "stiff hairs"
2 not moving or operating freely; "a stiff hinge"
3 powerful; "a stiff current"; "a stiff breeze"; "a stiff drink"
4 rigidly formal; "a starchy manner"; "the letter was stiff and formal"; "his prose has a buckram quality" [syn: starchy, buckram]
5 hard to overcome or surmount; "a stiff hike"; "a stiff exam"; "an uphill battle against a popular incumbant" [syn: uphill]
6 of a collar; standing up rather than folded down; "an uncomfortable standup collar"; "a stiff collar" [syn: stand-up]
7 incapable of or resistant to bending; "a rigid strip of metal"; "a table made of rigid plastic"; "a palace guardsman stiff as a poker" [syn: rigid]


1 an ordinary man; "a lucky stiff"; "a working stiff"
2 the dead body of a human being [syn: cadaver, corpse, clay, remains] adv
1 extremely; "bored stiff"; "frightened stiff"
2 in a stiff manner; "his hands lay stiffly" [syn: stiffly]

User Contributed Dictionary



stīf, from , from ( compare stipare).


  • /stɪf/
  • Rhymes: -ɪf


en-adj er
  1. Of an object, rigid, hard to bend, inflexible.
  2. In the context of "figuratively": Of policies and rules and their application and enforcement, inflexible.
  3. Of a person, formal in behavior, unrelaxed.
  4. Harsh, severe.
    He was eventually caught, and given a stiff fine.
  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.


of an object, rigid, hard to bend, inflexible
  • Finnish: jäykkä
  • French: rigide
  • German: steif, starr
  • Japanese: 硬い
  • Russian: жёсткий, негибкий
figuratively: of policies and rules and their application and enforcement
  • Finnish: kankea
  • Japanese: 固い
  • Russian: жёсткий, непоколебимый, непреклонный
of a person, formal in behavior, unrelaxed
  • Finnish: jäykkä
  • Japanese: 固い
  • Russian: холодный, чопорный
colloquial: harsh, severe
  • Finnish: kova
  • Japanese: 堅い
  • Russian: строгий, суровый
of muscles, or parts of the body
  • Finnish: jäykkä, kankea
  • Japanese: 凝る
  • Russian: окостеневший, одеревенелый


  1. 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.
  2. 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. A cadaver, a dead person.
  4. A person who leaves (especially a restaurant) without paying the bill.

See also


average person, usually male
  • Finnish: heppu, hemmo, heebo
  • Japanese: オッサン
person who is deceived
  • Finnish: uhri
  • Japanese: カモ
  • Russian: лох
slang: cadaver, dead person
  • Bulgarian: труп
  • French: macchabée
  • German: Steifer
  • Russian: труп, жмурик
US: person who leaves without paying the bill
  • German: Zechpreller
  • Japanese: qualifier informal 食い逃げ; qualifier formal 無銭飲食


  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…].
    • 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.
    • 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
  • Japanese: 払い忘れる
  • Swedish: sjappa
to tip ungenerously
to cheat someone

Extensive Definition

Stiff may refer to:

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Arab, Bowery bum, Latinate, a bit much, abandoned, abusive, adamant, adamantine, afflictive, alcoholic, all thumbs, aloof, arduous, arid, artificial, ashes, austere, awkward, balker, balky horse, barren, beach bum, beachcomber, beggar, beggarly fellow, blah, blank, blighter, blind, blind drunk, bloodless, blotto, blue-collar worker, blunderheaded, blundering, bo, body, bold, bombastic, bones, boorish, boundless, breadwinner, brisk, brittle, buckram, budmash, bum, bumbling, bummer, bungling, butterfingered, cadaver, caitiff, carcass, careless, carrion, cartilaginous, cast-iron, casual, casual laborer, ceremonious, challenging, characterless, cheapskate, chewy, chilly, clay, clownish, clumsy, clumsy-fisted, cohesive, cold, colorless, common laborer, compact, cool, coriaceous, corpse, corpus delicti, costly, cramped, crock, crowbait, cruel, cumbersome, cumbrous, day laborer, dead, dead as mutton, dead body, dead man, dead person, dear, dear-bought, decedent, dense, derelict, determined, devil, difficult, dismal, distressing, dog, dogged, dogie, dour, draggy, drastic, drearisome, dreary, drifter, drunkard, dry, dry bones, dryasdust, dull, durable, dust, dusty, earth, effete, egregious, elephantine, embalmed corpse, employee, empty, energetic, enormous, etiolated, exaggerated, excessive, excruciating, exhausting, exorbitant, expensive, extravagant, extreme, fabulous, factory worker, fade, fancy, fatiguing, fibrous, fingers all thumbs, firm, fit for sea, flat, flinty, flunky, food for worms, forced, forceful, formal, free lance, free-lancer, fresh, full-time worker, fumbling, fundamentalist, gamin, gamine, garron, gauche, gawkish, gawky, gigantic, gluttonous, goat, gone to seed, good-for-naught, good-for-nothing, graceless, grim, gristly, guinde, gusty, guttersnipe, hack, had, halting, ham-fisted, ham-handed, hand, hard, hard-core, hardened, hardy, harrowing, harsh, haughty, heavy, heavy-handed, helpless, hidebound, high, high-priced, ho-hum, hobo, hollow, homeless waif, howling, hulking, hulky, human wreck, hurtful, hyperbolic, hypertrophied, idler, immoderate, immovable, immutable, implacable, impliable, in buckram, inane, incontinent, indomitable, industrial worker, inelastic, inelegant, inexcitable, inexorable, inflexible, inkhorn, inordinate, insipid, intemperate, intense, intransigent, iron, ironbound, ironclad, ironhanded, irreconcilable, jade, jejune, jobber, jobholder, jughead, labored, laborer, laboring man, laborious, landloper, lasting, late lamented, lazzarone, leaden, leatherlike, leathery, left-hand, left-handed, lifeless, loafer, losel, loutish, low-spirited, lowlife, lubberly, lumbering, lumpish, luxurious, maladroit, mannered, mauvais sujet, mean wretch, menial, merciless, migrant, miser, moiler, monstrous, mortal remains, mucker, mudlark, mummification, mummy, muscle-bound, nag, navvy, no-good, not affordable, oafish, obdurate, obstinate, of great cost, office temporary, on the downgrade, organic remains, orthodox, out, out cold, out of bounds, out of condition, out of shape, out of sight, out of training, outrageous, overbig, overcome, overdeveloped, overgreat, overgrown, overlarge, overmuch, overpowering, overweening, overwhelming, painful, pale, pallid, paralyzed, passed out, pauvre diable, pedantic, pedestrian, petrified, piker, pilgarlic, plodding, plug, pointless, pokerlike, poky, pompous, ponderous, poor creature, poor devil, potent, powerful, premium, pricey, prim, procrustean, proletarian, punishing, punitive, purist, puristic, puritan, puritanic, ragamuffin, ragman, ragpicker, ramrodlike, relentless, relics, reliquiae, remains, renitent, reserved, resistant, resolute, resolved, rich, rigid, rigorist, rigoristic, rigorous, roarer, rock-ribbed, rockbound, rodlike, rogue, ropy, rosinante, rough, rounder, roustabout, run to seed, rusty, sad case, sad sack, salaried worker, scalawag, sea-kindly, seaworthy, self-employed person, servant, sesquipedalian, severe, sinewy, skeleton, ski bum, skid-row bum, skinflint, slipping, sloppy, slow, snobbish, snooty, snug, soft, solemn, solid, solidified, spanking, spiritless, standoffish, starch, starched, starchy, stark, staunch, steady, steely, steep, sterile, stern, stiff as buckram, stiffened, stilted, stodgy, stone-cold, stone-dead, stoned, straightlaced, straitlaced, stray, street Arab, street urchin, stringy, strong, stubborn, stuffy, sumptuous, sundowner, superficial, surf bum, swagman, swagsman, tasteless, tatterdemalion, taut, tedious, temporary, tenacious, tender, tenement of clay, tennis bum, tense, the dead, the deceased, the defunct, the departed, the loved one, thick, tight, tightwad, tiring, toiler, toilsome, too much, top, tormenting, torturous, tough, tough as leather, tramp, truant, turgid, turnpiker, unaffected, unalterable, unbearable, unbending, unbridled, unchangeable, uncompromising, unconscionable, uncouth, under the table, undue, unflexible, unfriendly, ungainly, ungiving, ungraceful, unhandy, unlively, unmoved, unpayable, unreasonable, unrelaxed, unrelenting, unrestrained, untiring, unwieldy, unyielding, uphill, uptight, urchin, vag, vagabond, vagrant, vapid, vaurien, vigorous, virgate, viscid, wage earner, wage slave, wageworker, waif, waifs and strays, wastrel, waterproof, watertight, weatherly, whistler, wiry, wooden, worker, workgirl, workhand, working girl, workingman, workingwoman, workman, worthless fellow, wretch
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1