stiff neck

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Neck \Neck\ (n[e^]k), n. [OE. necke, AS. hnecca; akin to D. nek
   the nape of the neck, G. nacken, OHG. nacch, hnacch, Icel.
   hnakki, Sw. nacke, Dan. nakke.]
   1. The part of an animal which connects the head and the
      trunk, and which, in man and many other animals, is more
      slender than the trunk.
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   2. Any part of an inanimate object corresponding to or
      resembling the neck of an animal; as:
      (a) The long slender part of a vessel, as a retort, or of
          a fruit, as a gourd.
      (b) A long narrow tract of land projecting from the main
          body, or a narrow tract connecting two larger tracts.
      (c) (Mus.) That part of a violin, guitar, or similar
          instrument, which extends from the head to the body,
          and on which is the finger board or fret board.
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   3. (Mech.) A reduction in size near the end of an object,
      formed by a groove around it; as, a neck forming the
      journal of a shaft.
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   4. (Bot.) the point where the base of the stem of a plant
      arises from the root.
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   Neck and crop, completely; wholly; altogether; roughly and
      at once. [Colloq.]

   Neck and neck (Racing), so nearly equal that one cannot be
      said to be before the other; very close; even; side by

   Neck of a capital. (Arch.) See Gorgerin.

   Neck of a cascabel (Gun.), the part joining the knob to the
      base of the breech.

   Neck of a gun, the small part of the piece between the
      chase and the swell of the muzzle.

   Neck of a tooth (Anat.), the constriction between the root
      and the crown.

   Neck or nothing (Fig.), at all risks.

   Neck verse.
      (a) The verse formerly read to entitle a party to the
          benefit of clergy, said to be the first verse of the
          fifty-first Psalm, "Miserere mei," etc. --Sir W.
      (b) Hence, a verse or saying, the utterance of which
          decides one's fate; a shibboleth.

                These words, "bread and cheese," were their neck
                verse or shibboleth to distinguish them; all
                pronouncing "broad and cause," being presently
                put to death.                     --Fuller.

   Neck yoke.
      (a) A bar by which the end of the tongue of a wagon or
          carriage is suspended from the collars of the
      (b) A device with projecting arms for carrying things (as
          buckets of water or sap) suspended from one's

   On the neck of, immediately after; following closely; on
      the heel of. "Committing one sin on the neck of another."
      --W. Perkins.

   Stiff neck, obstinacy in evil or wrong; inflexible
      obstinacy; contumacy. "I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff
      neck." --Deut. xxxi. 27.

   To break the neck of, to destroy the main force of; to
      break the back of. "What they presume to borrow from her
      sage and virtuous rules . . . breaks the neck of their own
      cause." --Milton.

   To harden the neck, to grow obstinate; to be more and more
      perverse and rebellious. --Neh. ix. 17.

   To tread on the neck of, to oppress; to tyrannize over.
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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Stiff \Stiff\, a. [Compar. Stiffer; superl. Stiffest.] [OE.
   stif, AS. st[imac]f; akin to D. stijf, G. steif, Dan. stiv,
   Sw. styf, Icel. st[imac]fr, Lith. stipti to be stiff; cf. L.
   stipes a post, trunk of a tree, stipare to press, compress.
   Cf. Costive, Stifle, Stipulate, Stive to stuff.]
   1. Not easily bent; not flexible or pliant; not limber or
      flaccid; rigid; firm; as, stiff wood, paper, joints.
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            [They] rising on stiff pennons, tower
            The mid aerial sky.                   --Milton.
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   2. Not liquid or fluid; thick and tenacious; inspissated;
      neither soft nor hard; as, the paste is stiff.
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   3. Firm; strong; violent; difficult to oppose; as, a stiff
      gale or breeze.
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   4. Not easily subdued; unyielding; stubborn; obstinate;
      pertinacious; as, a stiff adversary.
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            It is a shame to stand stiff in a foolish argument.
                                                  --Jer. Taylor.
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            A war ensues: the Cretans own their cause,
            Stiff to defend their hospitable laws. --Dryden.
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   5. Not natural and easy; formal; constrained; affected;
      starched; as, stiff behavior; a stiff style.
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            The French are open, familiar, and talkative; the
            Italians stiff, ceremonious, and reserved.
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   6. Harsh; disagreeable; severe; hard to bear. [Obs. or
      Colloq.] "This is stiff news." --Shak.
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   7. (Naut.) Bearing a press of canvas without careening much;
      as, a stiff vessel; -- opposed to crank. --Totten.
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   8. Very large, strong, or costly; powerful; as, a stiff
      charge; a stiff price. [Slang]
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   Stiff neck, a condition of the neck such that the head can
      not be moved without difficulty and pain.
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   Syn: Rigid; inflexible; strong; hardly; stubborn; obstinate;
        pertinacious; harsh; formal; constrained; affected;
        starched; rigorous.
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