rig·​or | \ ˈri-gər How to pronounce rigor (audio) \

Definition of rigor

1a(1) : harsh inflexibility in opinion, temper, or judgment : severity The least one might observe is that this muddle of moralism and laxity, extreme rigor and casual permissiveness, arduous altruism and nonchalant selfishness, has consequences.— Peter Berkowitz
(2) : the quality of being unyielding or inflexible : strictness Their abandonment of this terminology is part of an effort to soften the rigor of some of the rigid consequences thought to flow from the mechanical application of this dichotomy.— John D. Calamari and Joseph M. Perillo
(3) : severity of life : austerity … a moral rigor and growth that might help this country.— Stanley Kauffmann
b : an act or instance of strictness, severity, or cruelty … the humanist must recognize the normality, the practical necessity of the very rigors he is trying to soften and correct.— Hermann J. Muller
2 : a tremor caused by a chill This young woman presented at the hospital with severe abdominal pain and signs of infection, including fever, rigor, and leukocytosis.— Robert E. Scully et al.
3 : a condition that makes life difficult, challenging, or uncomfortable especially : extremity of cold the rigors of a New England winter
4 : strict precision : exactness logical rigor Tentatively one might suggest that what characterizes science is the rigor of its methodology …— Ernst Mayr
5a obsolete : rigidity, stiffness
b : rigidness or torpor of organs or tissue that prevents response to stimuli
c : rigor mortis A fish has its best flavor and texture when cooked while just coming out of rigor.— Jane Daniels Lear

Examples of rigor in a Sentence

They underwent the rigors of military training. the rigors of life in the wilderness They conducted the experiments with scientific rigor. a scholar known for her intellectual rigor
Recent Examples on the Web And gathering the necessary data with enough statistical rigor to produce a useful model would likely involve some processes that feel unnatural to the business—like randomizing which customers get discounts or which sales reps can give discounts. Richard Tibbetts, Forbes, 25 Mar. 2022 The etiquette governing whom to select among multiple suitors is discussed with Talmudic rigor on Buy Nothing message boards. Patricia Marx, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2022 San Francisco can address this challenge without diminishing Lowell’s reputation for rigor. The New Yorker, 4 Apr. 2022 Although frustrating, this underscored the scientific rigor and caution of vaccine trials and oversight. Rosa Baier And Vanessa Lamers, CNN, 30 Mar. 2022 Campuses have replaced the eligibility index composed of grades and test scores with multiple factors, including high school grade-point average in 15 required college preparatory courses, overall coursework rigor and extracurricular activities. Colleen Shalby, Los Angeles Times, 23 Mar. 2022 One is more focused on academic rigor and one on the arts. Nicole Gull Mcelroy, Fortune, 1 Mar. 2022 Paul and Anne Ehrlich, Stanford biologists also referenced by Sussman, have continued their research, writing, and crusading for decades now, with rigor and commitment. Anna Louie Sussman, The New York Review of Books, 23 Sep. 2021 Anyone who has lived through the rigor of military deployments has already experienced something few of us can relate to in our reasonably comfortable lives. Patrick O'rahilly, Forbes, 9 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rigor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of rigor

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for rigor

Middle English rigour, from Anglo-French, from Latin rigor, literally, stiffness, from rigēre to be stiff

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The first known use of rigor was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Rigor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rigor. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for rigor


rig·​or | \ ˈri-gər How to pronounce rigor (audio) \

Kids Definition of rigor

: a harsh condition (as of discipline)


rig·​or | \ ˈrig-ər, British also ˈrī-ˌgȯr \

Medical Definition of rigor

b : a tremor caused by a chill
2a : rigidity or torpor of organs or tissue that prevents response to stimuli

More from Merriam-Webster on rigor

Nglish: Translation of rigor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rigor for Arabic Speakers


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