|rigor mortis (ˈrɪɡə ˈmɔːtɪs)|
|pathol the stiffness of joints and muscular rigidity of a dead body, caused by depletion of ATP in the tissues. It begins two to four hours after death and lasts up to about four days, after which the muscles and joints relax|
|[C19: Latin, literally: rigidity of death]|
rigor mortis rigor mor·tis (môr'tĭs)
Muscular stiffening following death. Also called postmortem rigidity.
|rigor mortis (rĭg'ər môr'tĭs) Pronunciation Key
Muscular stiffening following death, resulting from the unavailability of energy needed to interrupt contraction of the muscle fibers.
Stiffening of the muscles of the body that occurs after death. Rigor mortis is Latin for “stiffness of death.”
Note: Figuratively, rigor mortis refers to an absence of flexibility or vitality: “By the time the school finally closed, rigor mortis had set in in nearly every department.”