stiff as a board

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(as) stiff as a board

Very straight, rigid, or inflexible. Used to describe someone's physical posture or demeanor. The whole class sat in their chairs as stiff as boards during the principal's lecture. He stood as stiff as a board after his name was called, too nervous move.
See also: board, stiff
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

stiff as a board

Also, stiff as a poker. Inflexible, rigidly formal, unbending, as in This cloth is stiff as a board; what happened to it? or There he stood, stiff as a poker, unwilling to give an inch. The board in the first simile for rigidity is a slab of wood; the second, alluding to the iron implement used to push around logs in open fires, dates from the late 1700s.
See also: board, stiff
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

stiff as a board

If you or your body are as stiff as a board, you are very stiff. You'll achieve flexibility very quickly with these exercises — even if you're as stiff as a board at your first session. His lower back felt as stiff as a board.
See also: board, stiff
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

(as) stiff as a ˈboard

(of things) very firm and difficult to bend or move: He left his gloves outside in the snow, and when he found them again they were as stiff as a board.
See also: board, stiff
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

stiff as a board

Rigid, inflexible. This common simile for being unbending is replacing the earlier stiff as a poker, probably because central heating has made fireplace implements like pokers less common household items. Stiff as a poker dates from the eighteenth century; it appeared in numerous sources, such as “Stuck up as stiff as a poker” (George Colman, Jr., The Heir at Law, 1797). Earlier still was stiff as a stake (sixteenth century), which is now obsolete.
See also: board, stiff
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
And the actor admitted he "went stiff as a board" before he took to the ice and will crack open the bubbly if he survives this week.
"I've faced down hardened criminals but as I heard the first bars of our music I went stiff as a board," he added.