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rigor mortis

[ rig-er mawr-tis, or, especially British, rahy-gawr ]
/ ˈrɪg ər ˈmɔr tɪs, or, especially British, ˈraɪ gɔr /
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noun
the stiffening of the body after death.
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Origin of rigor mortis

1830–40; <Latin: literally, stiffness of death

Words nearby rigor mortis

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use rigor mortis in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rigor mortis

rigor mortis
/ (ˈrɪɡə ˈmɔːtɪs) /

noun
pathol the stiffness of joints and muscular rigidity of a dead body, caused by depletion of ATP in the tissues. It begins two to four hours after death and lasts up to about four days, after which the muscles and joints relax

Word Origin for rigor mortis

C19: Latin, literally: rigidity of death
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

Scientific definitions for rigor mortis

rigor mortis
[ rĭgər môrtĭs ]

Muscular stiffening following death, resulting from the unavailability of energy needed to interrupt contraction of the muscle fibers.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for rigor mortis

rigor mortis
[ (rig-uhr mawr-tis) ]

Stiffening of the muscles of the body that occurs after death. Rigor mortis is Latin for “stiffness of death.”

notes for rigor mortis

Figuratively, rigor mortis refers to an absence of flexibility or vitality: “By the time the school finally closed, rigor mortis had set in in nearly every department.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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