phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum


Posted by Directtv on March 06, 2005

In Reply to: Re: Corrected "to stiff" posted by Brian from Shawnee on February 06, 2005

: : : : What's the origin of "to stiff" someone, meaning not to pay what is due him?

: : The OED gives the meaning in which you are interested: " 3. To cheat; to refuse to pay or tip (a person). slang (orig. and chiefly U.S.)." It does not explain, and I believe that it must be from before 1950, the date of its first citation. Folk etymologies :(especially mine) are usually wrong, but I'm guessing that the origin could be in the game of American football, in which the ball-carrier keeps from being tackled by stiff-arming anyone trying to bring him down, if he can't just outrun him. I lost patience trying to Google up a useful entry. SS

: I have another folk etymology theory: "to stiff" as in "to shaft" or "to screw". There are other synonyms but I hope you get the idea. Internet and Advertising Specialties Institute buy dishnetwork reseller partners in the US and abroad. The Concepts satellite has distribution and reseller supplier agreements direcway through Kodak