from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Strictness or severity, as in temperament, action, or judgment.
  • n. A harsh or trying circumstance; hardship. See Synonyms at difficulty.
  • n. A harsh or cruel act.
  • n. Medicine Shivering or trembling, as caused by a chill.
  • n. Physiology A state of rigidity in living tissues or organs that prevents response to stimuli.
  • n. Obsolete Stiffness or rigidity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Alternative spelling of rigour.
  • n. an abbreviated form of rigor mortis.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Rigidity; stiffness.
  • n. A sense of chilliness, with contraction of the skin; a convulsive shuddering or tremor, as in the chill preceding a fever.
  • n. The becoming stiff or rigid; the state of being rigid; rigidity; stiffness; hardness.
  • n. See 1st Rigor, 2.
  • n. Severity of climate or season; inclemency
  • n. Stiffness of opinion or temper; rugged sternness; hardness; relentless severity; hard-heartedness; cruelty.
  • n. Exactness without allowance, deviation, or indulgence; strictness; ; -- opposed to lenity.
  • n. Severity of life; austerity; voluntary submission to pain, abstinence, or mortification.
  • n. Violence; force; fury.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state or property of being stiff or rigid; stiffness; rigidity; rigidness.
  • n. The property of not bending or yielding; inflexibility; stiffness; hence, strictness without allowance, latitude, or indulgence; exactingness: as, to execute a law with rigor; to criticize with rigor.
  • n. Severity of life; austerity.
  • n. Sternness; harshness; cruelty.
  • n. Sharpness; violence; asperity; inclemency: as, the rigor of winter.
  • n. That which is harsh or severe; especially, an act of injustice, oppression, or cruelty.
  • n. (rī′ gor). [NL.] In pathology, a sudden coldness, attended by shivering more or less marked, which ushers in many diseases, especially fevers and acute inflammation: commonly called chill. It is also produced by nervous disturbance or shock. [In this sense always spelled rigor.]
  • n. Synonyms and Rigor, Rigidity, Rigidness, inclemency. There is a marked tendency to use rigidity of physical stiffness. Rigidity seems to take also the passive, while rigor takes the active, of the moral senses; as, rigidity of manner, of mood; rigor in the enforcement of laws. Rigidness perhaps holds a middle position, or inclines to be synonymous with rigidity. Rigor applies also to severity of cold. See austere.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the quality of being valid and rigorous
  • n. something hard to endure
  • n. excessive sternness


Middle English rigour, from Old French, from Latin rigor, from rigēre, to be stiff; see reig- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French, from Latin rigor ("stiffness, rigidness, rigor, cold, harshness"), from rigere ("to be rigid"). (Wiktionary)


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  • as in chill

    December 3, 2006