strictness, severity, or harshness, as in dealing with people.
the full or extreme severity of laws, rules, etc.
severity of living conditions; hardship; austerity: the rigor of wartime existence.
a severe or harsh act, circumstance, etc.
scrupulous or inflexible accuracy or adherence: the logical rigor of mathematics.
severity of weather or climate or an instance of this: the rigors of winter.
Pathology. a sudden coldness, as that preceding certain fevers; chill.
Physiology. a state of rigidity in muscle tissues during which they are unable to respond to stimuli due to the coagulation of muscle protein.
Obsolete. stiffness or rigidity.
Also, especially British, rigour.

1350–1400; Middle English rigour < Latin rigor stiffness, equivalent to rig(ēre) to be stiff + -or -or1

1. inflexibility, stringency. 4. cruelty.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
rigor (ˈraɪɡɔː, ˈrɪɡə)
1.  med a sudden feeling of chilliness, often accompanied by shivering: it sometimes precedes a fever
2.  pathol rigidity of a muscle; muscular cramp
3.  a state of rigidity assumed by some animals in reaction to sudden shock
4.  the inertia assumed by some plants in conditions unfavourable to growth
[see rigour]

rigour or (US) rigor (ˈrɪɡə)
1.  harsh but just treatment or action
2.  a severe or cruel circumstance; hardship: the rigours of famine
3.  strictness, harshness, or severity of character
4.  strictness in judgment or conduct; rigorism
5.  maths, logic logical validity or accuracy
6.  obsolete rigidity
[C14: from Latin rigor]
rigor or (US) rigor
[C14: from Latin rigor]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., from O.Fr. rigor (13c.), from L. rigorem (nom. rigor) "numbness, stiffness, rigor," from rigere "be stiff" (see rigid). Rigor mortis is 1839, from L. rigor "stiffness" + mortis, gen. of mors "death" (see mortal).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

rigor rig·or (rĭg'ər)

  1. See rigidity.

  2. Shivering or trembling, as caused by a chill.

  3. A state of rigidity in living tissues or organs that prevents response to stimuli.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
The board says it is eager to bring new rigor to education.
We kept all that is good about methods in economics: theoretical and empirical
Researchers aim to put more rigor into studies of media bias.
His condition yesterday, aside from a slight rigor in the early morning, was
  apparently more favorable than.
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