Medical Definition of Rigor

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

Rigor: A word with two different but related meanings in medicine:
1. A chill, usually with shivering, as at the onset of high fever and chills.

2. Rigidity, as in rigor mortis, the rigidity of a body after death.

The alternate spelling rigour is chiefly British. From the French, from the Latin rigor, meaning stiffness, from rigere, to be stiff.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018