rigor mortis

noun
rig·​or mor·​tis | \ ˌri-gər-ˈmȯr-təs also chiefly British ˌrī-ˌgȯ-ˈmȯ-təs How to pronounce rigor mortis (audio) \

Definition of rigor mortis

: temporary rigidity of muscles occurring after death

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Did You Know?

Rigor mortis, which translates from Latin as "stiffness of death", sets in quickly and usually ends three or four days after death. The condition results from a lack of certain chemicals in the muscles; it may be affected by muscular activity before death as well as the external temperature. Mystery writers frequently make use of rigor mortis as a means by which the detective or the examiner can determine the time of the victim's death, which often turns out to be all-important in solving the case.

Examples of rigor mortis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That black-and-white image (a still or rigor mortis?) was a technological breakthrough. Armond White, National Review, "1917: War as Video Game and Ceremony," 17 Jan. 2020 No-jime can delay rigor mortis for an hour, standard ikejime for about eight hours and shinkei-jime for up to 24 hours. The Economist, "Ikejime: a humane way to kill fish that makes them tastier," 4 Oct. 2019 The process of rigor mortis can be accelerated by the flu. Robert Moore, ProPublica, "Inside the Cell Where a Sick 16-Year-Old Boy Died in Border Patrol Care," 8 Dec. 2019 No-jime can delay rigor mortis for an hour, standard ikejime for about eight hours and shinkei-jime for up to 24 hours. The Economist, "Ikejime: a humane way to kill fish that makes them tastier," 4 Oct. 2019 And her limbs were stiff and would not extend, as if affected by rigor mortis. oregonlive, "Emaciated Oregon girl ‘looked straight out of photos from the Holocaust’," 25 Sep. 2019 No-jime can delay rigor mortis for an hour, standard ikejime for about eight hours and shinkei-jime for up to 24 hours. The Economist, "Ikejime: a humane way to kill fish that makes them tastier," 4 Oct. 2019 In 2017 alone, Martinez was one of four prisoners who killed themselves and lay dead in their cells for hours, rigor mortis setting in, despite welfare checks on their cells at 30-minute intervals. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "Suicides in California prisons rise despite decades of demands for reform," 29 Sep. 2019 No-jime can delay rigor mortis for an hour, standard ikejime for about eight hours and shinkei-jime for up to 24 hours. 1843, "Ikejime: a humane way to kill fish that makes them tastier," 26 Sep. 2019

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

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First Known Use of rigor mortis

1847, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rigor mortis

New Latin, stiffness of death

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Time Traveler for rigor mortis

Time Traveler

The first known use of rigor mortis was in 1847

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Statistics for rigor mortis

Last Updated

25 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rigor mortis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rigor%20mortis. Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for rigor mortis

rigor mortis

noun
How to pronounce rigor mortis (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of rigor mortis

: a temporary stiffness of the body that happens soon after death

rigor mortis

noun
rig·​or mor·​tis | \ ˌrig-ər-ˈmȯrt-əs also chiefly British ˌrī-ˌgȯ(ə)r- \

Medical Definition of rigor mortis

: temporary rigidity of muscles occurring after death

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More from Merriam-Webster on rigor mortis

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rigor mortis

Spanish Central: Translation of rigor mortis

Nglish: Translation of rigor mortis for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rigor mortis

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