General English


  • adjective not able to be bent or moved easily


  • verb to take financial advantage of (someone); to cheat, rob or extort from
  • verb to flop, fail. A term used typically in the context of the entertainment business or sports.
  • verb to aggress, treat harshly. The term is from ‘stiff-arm’, a version of ‘strong-arm’.
  • verb to have sex with. A working-class vulgarism.

Origin & History of “stiff”

Stiff goes back to prehistoric Germanic *stīfaz ‘inflexible’, source also of German steif, Dutch stiff, Swedish styf, and Danish stiv. this in turn was descended from an Indo-European *stīpos, a derivative of the same base as produced Latin stīpāre ‘press, pack’ (source of English constipate and stevedore), Latvian stipt ‘stiffen’, and Lithuanian stiprùs ‘strong’.