Definition of rigor mortis in English:

rigor mortis

Line breaks: rigor mor¦tis
Pronunciation: /ˈmɔːtɪs


[mass noun] Medicine
  • Stiffening of the joints and muscles of a body a few hours after death, usually lasting from one to four days.
    More example sentences
    • After death, bodies are rubbed and anointed to remove rigor mortis.
    • When they brought the bodies up, rigor mortis had set in on one women's body so strongly that they couldn't separate the mother from her child.
    • He tries to slide the ring off his mother's finger, but rigor mortis has set in.


mid 19th century: from Latin, literally 'stiffness of death'.

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