• synonyms


noun Chiefly British.
  1. rigor.
Show More


  1. strictness, severity, or harshness, as in dealing with people.
  2. the full or extreme severity of laws, rules, etc.
  3. severity of living conditions; hardship; austerity: the rigor of wartime existence.
  4. a severe or harsh act, circumstance, etc.
  5. scrupulous or inflexible accuracy or adherence: the logical rigor of mathematics.
  6. severity of weather or climate or an instance of this: the rigors of winter.
  7. Pathology. a sudden coldness, as that preceding certain fevers; chill.
  8. Physiology. a state of rigidity in muscle tissues during which they are unable to respond to stimuli due to the coagulation of muscle protein.
  9. Obsolete. stiffness or rigidity.
Show More
Also especially British, rig·our.

Origin of rigor

1350–1400; Middle English rigour < Latin rigor stiffness, equivalent to rig(ēre) to be stiff + -or -or1


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for rigours

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Then the rigours of my captivity were still further increased.

  • Are the northern kingdoms of Europe bare of life because of the winter rigours?'

    The Frozen Pirate

    W. Clark Russell

  • He's going to live on deck to inure himself to the rigours of the Arctic climate.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

  • Then you experienced the rigours of intolerance there, in some measure, did you?

    The Printer Boy.

    William M. Thayer

  • The lady must depart; if she goes not, the rigours of the law will crush her.

British Dictionary definitions for rigours


  1. med a sudden feeling of chilliness, often accompanied by shivering: it sometimes precedes a fever
  2. (ˈrɪɡə) pathol rigidity of a muscle; muscular cramp
  3. a state of rigidity assumed by some animals in reaction to sudden shock
  4. the inertia assumed by some plants in conditions unfavourable to growth
Show More

Word Origin

see rigour


US rigor

  1. harsh but just treatment or action
  2. a severe or cruel circumstance; hardshipthe rigours of famine
  3. strictness, harshness, or severity of character
  4. strictness in judgment or conduct; rigorism
  5. maths logic logical validity or accuracy
  6. obsolete rigidity
Show More

Word Origin

C14: from Latin rigor
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

Word Origin and History for rigours



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).

Show More



chiefly British English spelling of rigor (q.v.); for spelling, see -or.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

rigours in Medicine


  1. 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.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.