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]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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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 next morning she had severe rigors, and in forty-eight hours she was a
But the deep-sea cages must be built to withstand the rigors of the deep ocean.
But without the rigors of everyday life, which often demand an answer, the
  debates of academia lack any governor on them at all.
UL also tests the products' capacity to stand up to the rigors of home use.
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