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[rig-er] /ˈrɪg ər/
strictness, severity, or harshness, as in dealing with people.
the full or extreme severity of laws, rules, etc.
severity of living conditions; hardship; austerity:
the rigor of wartime existence.
a severe or harsh act, circumstance, etc.
scrupulous or inflexible accuracy or adherence:
the logical rigor of mathematics.
severity of weather or climate or an instance of this:
the rigors of winter.
Pathology. a sudden coldness, as that preceding certain fevers; chill.
Physiology. a state of rigidity in muscle tissues during which they are unable to respond to stimuli due to the coagulation of muscle protein.
Obsolete. stiffness or rigidity.
Also, especially British, rigour.
Origin of rigor
1350-1400; Middle English rigour < Latin rigor stiffness, equivalent to rig(ēre) to be stiff + -or -or1
1. inflexibility, stringency. 4. cruelty. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for rigor
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then I am full of regret for you, because—because I know the rigor of police discipline.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
  • It was judged not proper for me to return, considering the rigor of the season.

    The Autobiography of Madame Guyon Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte Guyon
  • It is like an iron country, and the spirit is oppressed by its rigor and melancholy.

    O Pioneers! Willa Cather
  • The other patient was seized with a rigor the third morning after delivery.

    Medical Essays Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • The mine owner did not speak, but the rigor of his eyes did not relax.

    Brand Blotters William MacLeod Raine
British Dictionary definitions for rigor


/ˈraɪɡɔː; ˈrɪɡə/
(med) a sudden feeling of chilliness, often accompanied by shivering: it sometimes precedes a fever
(pathol) (ˈrɪɡə). rigidity of a muscle; muscular cramp
a state of rigidity assumed by some animals in reaction to sudden shock
the inertia assumed by some plants in conditions unfavourable to growth
Word Origin
see rigour
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rigor

late 14c., from Old French rigor "strength, hardness" (13c., Modern French rigueur), from Latin rigorem (nominative rigor) "numbness, stiffness, hardness, firmness; roughness, rudeness," from rigere "be stiff" (see rigid).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rigor in Medicine

rigor rig·or (rĭg'ər)

  1. See rigidity.

  2. Shivering or trembling, as caused by a chill.

  3. A state of rigidity in living tissues or organs that prevents response to stimuli.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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