from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Strictness or severity, as in action or judgment.
  • noun A harsh or trying circumstance; a hardship or difficulty: synonym: difficulty.
  • noun Archaic A harsh or severe act.
  • noun Strictness in adhering to standards or a method; exactitude.
  • noun A standard or exacting requirement, as of a field of study.
  • noun Medicine Shivering or trembling, as caused by a chill.
  • noun Physiology A state of rigidity in living tissues or organs that prevents response to stimuli.
  • noun Obsolete Stiffness or rigidity.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The state or property of being stiff or rigid; stiffness; rigidity; rigidness.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Severity of life; austerity.
  • noun Sternness; harshness; cruelty.
  • noun Sharpness; violence; asperity; inclemency: as, the rigor of winter.
  • noun That which is harsh or severe; especially, an act of injustice, oppression, or cruelty.
  • noun (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.]
  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Rigidity; stiffness.
  • noun (ed.) A sense of chilliness, with contraction of the skin; a convulsive shuddering or tremor, as in the chill preceding a fever.
  • noun (Physiol.) a form of rigor mortis induced by heat, as when the muscle of a mammal is heated to about 50° C.
  • noun death stiffening; the rigidity of the muscles that occurs at death and lasts till decomposition sets in. It is due to the formation of myosin by the coagulation of the contents of the individual muscle fibers.
  • noun The becoming stiff or rigid; the state of being rigid; rigidity; stiffness; hardness.
  • noun (Med.) See 1st Rigor, 2.
  • noun Severity of climate or season; inclemency
  • noun Stiffness of opinion or temper; rugged sternness; hardness; relentless severity; hard-heartedness; cruelty.
  • noun Exactness without allowance, deviation, or indulgence; strictness; ; -- opposed to lenity.
  • noun Severity of life; austerity; voluntary submission to pain, abstinence, or mortification.
  • noun obsolete Violence; force; fury.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun US Alternative spelling of rigour.
  • noun slang an abbreviated form of rigor mortis.

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

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


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

[Middle English rigour, from Old French, from Latin rigor, from rigēre, to be stiff; see reig- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French, from Latin rigor ("stiffness, rigidness, rigor, cold, harshness"), from rigere ("to be rigid").


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  • as in chill

    December 3, 2006