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a. Strictness or severity, as in action or judgment: "The desert fostered a closed world of faith and rigor and harsh judgment: almost every decision here could have lethal consequences" (Jeffrey Tayler).
b. A harsh or trying circumstance; a hardship or difficulty: the rigors of working in a coal mine. See Synonyms at difficulty.
c. Archaic A harsh or severe act.
a. Strictness in adhering to standards or a method; exactitude: "To study the brain with scientific rigor, behaviorists logically restricted their experiments to ones in which the brain was the source of measurable effects" (Robert Pollack).
b. A standard or exacting requirement, as of a field of study: the intellectual rigors of advanced mathematics.
3. Medicine Shivering or trembling, as caused by a chill.
4. Physiology A state of rigidity in living tissues or organs that prevents response to stimuli.
5. Obsolete Stiffness or rigidity.

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


(ˈraɪɡɔː; ˈrɪɡə)
1. (Medicine) med a sudden feeling of chilliness, often accompanied by shivering: it sometimes precedes a fever
2. (Pathology) pathol rigidity of a muscle; muscular cramp
3. (Zoology) a state of rigidity assumed by some animals in reaction to sudden shock
4. (Botany) the inertia assumed by some plants in conditions unfavourable to growth
[see rigour]


(ˈrɪg ər)

1. the quality of being strict; inflexibility.
2. harshness of judgment or attitude; sternness.
3. hardship of living conditions; austerity: the rigor of wartime existence.
4. a severe or harsh act or circumstance.
5. scrupulous accuracy; precision.
6. severity of weather or climate.
7. a sudden coldness, as that preceding certain fevers; chill.
8. muscular rigidity.
Also, esp. Brit., rig′our.
[1350–1400; Middle English rigour < Latin rigor stiffness =rig(ēre) to be stiff + -or -or1]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.rigor - something hard to endurerigor - something hard to endure; "the asperity of northern winters"
difficultness, difficulty - the quality of being difficult; "they agreed about the difficulty of the climb"
sternness - the quality (as of scenery) being grim and gloomy and forbidding; "the sternness of his surroundings made him uncomfortable"
2.rigor - the quality of being valid and rigorous
believability, credibility, credibleness - the quality of being believable or trustworthy
3.rigor - excessive sternness; "severity of character"; "the harshness of his punishment was inhuman"; "the rigors of boot camp"
sternness, strictness - uncompromising resolution


1. The fact or condition of being rigorous and unsparing:
2. Something that obstructs progress and requires great effort to overcome:
asperity, difficulty, hardship, vicissitude (often used in plural).
Idioms: a hard nut to crack, a hard row to hoe, heavy sledding.


(American) rigor (ˈrigə) noun
1. strictness; harshness.
2. (also ˈrigours noun plural) (of weather etc) the state of being very bad or unpleasant, or the hardship caused by this. the rigour(s) of life in the Arctic Circle.
ˈrigorous adjective
1. strict. a rigorous training.
2. harsh; unpleasant. a rigorous climate.
ˈrigorously adverb
ˈrigorousness noun
References in classic literature ?
The result of our having everything out was simply to reduce our situation to the last rigor of its elements.
The aggregated Soyle Death with his Mace petrific, cold and dry, As with a Trident smote, and fix't as firm As DELOS floating once; the rest his look Bound with GORGONIAN rigor not to move, And with ASPHALTIC slime; broad as the Gate, Deep to the Roots of Hell the gather'd beach They fasten'd, and the Mole immense wraught on Over the foaming deep high Archt, a Bridge Of length prodigious joyning to the Wall Immoveable of this now fenceless world Forfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad, Smooth, easie, inoffensive down to Hell.
Invited and urged by the open-hearted and truly benevolent people who had given them an asylum from the persecution of their own kindred to form their settlement within the territories then under their jurisdiction, the love of their country predominated over every influence save that of conscience alone, and they preferred the precarious chance of relaxation from the bigoted rigor of the English Government to the certain liberality and alluring offers of the Hollanders.
As the sense of responsibility is always strongest, in proportion as it is undivided, it may be inferred that a single man would be most ready to attend to the force of those motives which might plead for a mitigation of the rigor of the law, and least apt to yield to considerations which were calculated to shelter a fit object of its vengeance.
In the preceding inquiries the powers of the convention have been analyzed and tried with the same rigor, and by the same rules, as if they had been real and final powers for the establishment of a Constitution for the United States.
If you go on so, his Eminence will be forced to renew his company in three weeks, and I to put the edicts in force in all their rigor.
How differently do the same acts of parental rigor appear in the eyes of the suffering child and of the chastened man
He had found the couple hobnobbing together in all amity; the old gentleman's rigor was purely theoretic.
The dead don't sigh, and for all practical purposes I was that, except for the final consummation, the growing cold, the rigor mortis - that blessed state
The same discrimination of fit and fair runs out, if with less rigor, into all parts of life.
We regret to be obliged to add, that, owing to the rigor of the season, he was using his tongue as a handkerchief.
She did not know then that it was Love who had come to her briefly, as in a dream before awaking, with the hues of morning on his wings-- that it was Love to whom she was sobbing her farewell as his image was banished by the blameless rigor of irresistible day.