• WordNet 3.6
    • n stiffener material used for stiffening something
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Stiffener One who, or that which, stiffens anything, as a piece of stiff cloth in a cravat.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n stiffener One who or that which stiffens. Formerly used specifically for a piece of stiff material worn inside a stock or neckcloth, and also for a similar device worn in leg-of-mutton sleeves.
    • n stiffener In iron ship-building, one of a series of angle-bars, Z-bars, or other shapes, riveted to plating, particularly to the plating of bulkheads, to give them the necessary stiffness or rigidity. Stiffeners are called vertical stiffeners or horizontal stiffeners, according to the way they are arranged on the bulkhead.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Stiffener one who, or that which, stiffens
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  • Francis H. Bradley
    “Our live experiences, fixed in aphorisms, stiffen into cold epigrams. Our heart's blood, as we write it, turns to mere dull ink.”
  • Edward M. Forster
    “Faith, to my mind, is a stiffening process, a sort of mental starch, which ought to be applied as sparingly as possible.”


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. stíf, stiff; Dut. stijf, Dan. stiv.


In literature:

She gives a little gasp and stiffens, and I expect I did some open-face work myself.
"Shorty McCabe on the Job" by Sewell Ford
He held his breath as he stiffened his left fingers on the barrel and dropped his cheek on the butt.
"The Gold Trail" by Harold Bindloss
The round of his chin stiffened; his mouth took new lines.
"The Black Cross" by Olive M. Briggs
She regarded him with a cold stare, and her figure stiffened as he had seen it stiffen once before.
"Before the Dawn" by Joseph Alexander Altsheler
Their eyes blazed and their muscles stiffened.
"Army Boys on the Firing Line" by Homer Randall
He saw her shoulders stiffen, but it was not until he overtook her that he discovered her eyes to be sparkling with tears.
"The Tyranny of Weakness" by Charles Neville Buck
At last it buzzed, and the long form relaxed its stiffening.
"The Brentons" by Anna Chapin Ray
Glue is good for stiffening calicoes.
"A Treatise on Domestic Economy" by Catherine Esther Beecher
This constantly happens, in spite of the fact that teachers continually warn their pupils against the tendency to stiffen.
"The Psychology of Singing" by David C. Taylor
Captain Crane stiffened and faced me, waiting.
"The Winged Men of Orcon" by David R. Sparks

In poetry:

Oh! why delays the spring?
Not yet the sap moves in my frozen veins;
Through all my stiffened roots creep numbing pains,
That I can hardly cling.
"The Tree's Prayer" by George MacDonald
'Tis not, that on the turf supinely laid,
I sing or pipe but to the flocks that graze;
And, all inglorious, in the lonesome shade
My finger stiffens, and my voice decays.
"Elegy X. To Fortune, Suggesting His Motive for Repining at Her Dispensations" by William Shenstone
Weeping for another's woe,
Tears flow then that would not flow
When our sorrow was our own,
And the deadly, stiffening blow
Was upon our own heart given
In the moments that have flown!
"For Others" by Rose Hawthorne Lathrop
She sat with dead cold limbs, stiffen'd to stone;
She took the gory head up in her arms;
She kiss'd the pale lips; she had no tears to shed;
She hugg'd it to her breast, and groan'd her last.
"Fair Elanor" by William Blake
the splendour & the lose grew all the same,
Sire. His heart stiffened, and he failed to smile,
catching (enfit) on.
The law: we must, owing to chiefly shame
lacing our pride, down what we did. A mile,
a mile to Avalon.
"Dream Song 58: Industrious, affable, having brain on fire" by John Berryman
We go and know not whither,
Nor see the tracks we go –
A horseman gaunt shall tell us, A rain-veiled light shall show.
By wood and swamp and mountain, The long dark hours begin –
Before our fresh wounds stiffen –
Fall in, my men, fall in.
"'Fall In, My Men, Fall In'" by Henry Lawson

In news:

Italy wants the rest of the Continent to stiffen border patrols and asylum guidelines.
Insecure reporters need to stiffen their backbone.
It was little surprise that Habib Jaafer, star midfielder of the Iraqi national soccer team for the past 17 years, stiffened as he approached the National Olympic Committee.
Democrats stiffen spine against trimming benefits.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's re-election has stiffened Democrats' spines against cutting popular benefit programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
Conventions stiffen partisans, leave fundamentals unchanged.
Transformed into pulpits, the state-owned media showcase one mullah after another in a campaign of stiffening.
Insecure reporters need to stiffen their backbone .
Many Maryland municipalities are balking at a state law aimed at stiffening their ethics rules.
President Barack Obama’s re-election has stiffened Democrats’ spine against cutting popular benefit programs like Medicare and Social Security.
Tennessee safety commissioner talks about governor's plans to stiffen domestic violence penalties.
Lawmakers in at least five states aim to stiffen or enact cyberbullying laws as national concern grows over electronic harassment and its deadly consequences.
On Friday, New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed into law a bill that stiffens penalties for drivers convicted of road rage.
Morgan attributes recent stiffening to team unity.
For the helmet-haters: a soft beanie lined with elastic polymers that stiffen upon wipeout.

In science:

When the homologously collapsing inner part of the stellar core is abruptly stopped at core bounce by the stiffening of the nuclear equation of state (EoS), a hydrodynamical shock is formed at the boundary to the supersonically infalling outer part (Colgate & White 1966).
Explosion Mechanisms of Massive Stars
For a CNT quantum dot, the effects of damping, spring stiffening and softening, and nonlinearity, are completely dominated by single-electron charging effects23 .
Probing the charge of a quantum dot with a nanomechanical resonator
As the sign of ∂ 3 hN i/∂V 3 g goes from positive, to negative, to positive again, across a Coulomb peak, mode coupling causes softening, then stiffening, and then softening, in the CNT spring.
Probing the charge of a quantum dot with a nanomechanical resonator
Within less than a millisecond, this stiffening of the equation of state halts and reverses collapse.
Perspectives on Core-Collapse Supernova Theory
It was suggested in that an action based on the modified Steiner functional might be a suitable alternative candidate as it possessed the nice geometrical property of being subdivision invariant as well as retaining a desirable stiffening effect on the surfaces.
Steiner Variations on Random Surfaces