stiffens, stiffening, stiffened
1) VERB If you stiffen, you stop moving and stand or sit with muscles that are suddenly tense, for example because you feel afraid or angry.

Ada stiffened at the sound of his voice...

The father's face stiffened with dismay.

2) V-ERG If your muscles or joints stiffen, or if something stiffens them, they become difficult to bend or move.

The blood supply to the skin is reduced when muscles stiffen. [Also V n]

Stiffen up means the same as stiffen.

V P n (not pron) These clothes restrict your freedom of movement and stiffen up the whole body... Also V n P, V P `I just stiffened up, and the more they told me to `be natural', the more I felt not at all relaxed.

3) V-ERG If attitudes or behaviour stiffen, or if something stiffens them, they become stronger or more severe, and less likely to be changed.

Russian resistance suddenly stiffened because there was no room for retreat...

[V n] Canada has recently stiffened its immigration rules.

4) VERB: usu passive If something such as cloth is stiffened, it is made firm so that it does not bend easily.

[be V-ed] This special paper was actually thin, soft Sugiwara paper that had been stiffened with a kind of paste...

[V-ed] They peeled cold stiffened gloves from their hands.

Phrasal Verbs:

English dictionary. 2008.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Stiffen — Stiff en, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Stiffened}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Stiffening}.] [See {Stiff}.] 1. To make stiff; to make less pliant or flexible; as, to stiffen cloth with starch. [1913 Webster] Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood. Shak. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Stiffen — Stiff en, v. i. To become stiff or stiffer, in any sense of the adjective. [1913 Webster] Like bristles rose my stiffening hair. Dryden. [1913 Webster] The tender soil then stiffening by degrees. Dryden. [1913 Webster] Some souls we see, Grow… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • stiffen — index fix (make firm) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • stiffen — 1590s, from STIFF (Cf. stiff) (adj.) + EN (Cf. en) (1). Related: Stiffened; stiffening …   Etymology dictionary

  • stiffen — [v] make or become harder anneal, benumb, brace, cake, candy, cement, chill, clot, coagulate, condense, congeal, crystallize, curdle, firm, fix, freeze, gel, harden, inflate, inspissate, jell, jelly, ossify, petrify, precipitate, prop, reinforce …   New thesaurus

  • stiffen — ► VERB 1) make or become stiff. 2) make or become stronger or more steadfast. DERIVATIVES stiffener noun …   English terms dictionary

  • stiffen — [stif′ən] vt., vi. to make or become stiff or stiffer stiffener n …   English World dictionary

  • stiffen — UK [ˈstɪf(ə)n] / US verb Word forms stiffen : present tense I/you/we/they stiffen he/she/it stiffens present participle stiffening past tense stiffened past participle stiffened 1) [intransitive] to suddenly hold your body in a stiff way, often… …   English dictionary

  • stiffen — stiff|en [ stıfn ] verb 1. ) intransitive to suddenly hold your body in a stiff way, often because you become nervous, worried, angry, or unfriendly: She stiffened as the footsteps came closer and closer. stiffen with/in: He stiffened with rage.… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • stiffen — stiff|en [ˈstıfən] v 1.) if you stiffen, your body suddenly becomes firm, straight, or still because you feel angry or anxious ≠ ↑relax ▪ He touched her, and she stiffened. 2.) [I and T] to become stronger, more severe, or more determined, or to… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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