Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Stiff.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
An I.O.U.; a bill of acceptance. “Hard,” means hard cash. “Did you get it stiff or hard?” means by an I.O.U. or in cash. Of course “stiff” refers to the stiff interest exacted by money lenders.   1
        “His ‘staff’ was floating about in too many directions, at too many high figures.”—Ouida: Under Two Flags, chap. vii.



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