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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web Not only will this person be able to provide you with feedback quickly, but their inherent skepticism will also provide the necessary rigor for your sales copy. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 26 May 2021 The rigor helped clarify his poetry, which is free of excess. New York Times, 25 May 2021 Meanwhile, some coaches have been known to push the limits by demanding a level of physicality and rigor that’s only a notch or two below regular-season action. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, 24 May 2021 What did happen was Operation Warp Speed, a concerted effort launched by the federal government last year to reduce red tape, not scientific rigor. Karen Pallarito, Health.com, 20 May 2021 Medical education in the U.S. was undergoing a sweeping transformation as medical schools sought to standardize and bring rigor to physician training. Fortune, 14 May 2021 Yes, the graceful arches of Arlington Memorial Bridge have an elegance worthy of an old European capital, and the muscular engineering of the Francis Scott Key Bridge has an appealing formal rigor. Washington Post, 1 Apr. 2021 The Instagram user who racially abused Swansea player Yan Dhanda will not be banned from the social media network, a lenient policy that has drawn criticism for lacking rigor. Rob Harris, Star Tribune, 12 Feb. 2021 Intelligence, grace, tonal beauty, technical aplomb and interpretive rigor were hallmarks of his playing. David Mermelstein, WSJ, 15 Dec. 2020

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.

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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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Time Traveler for rigor

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for rigor

Last Updated

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rigor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rigor. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for rigor



English Language Learners Definition of rigor

: the difficult and unpleasant conditions or experiences that are associated with something
: the quality or state of being very exact, careful, or strict


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

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rigor

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Britannica English: Translation of rigor for Arabic Speakers


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