rigor mortis

rigor mortis


  1. the stiffening of the body after death.


  1. 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

“stiffening of the body caused by contraction of muscles after death,” 1837, from Latin rigor “stiffness” (see rigor) + mortis, genitive of mors “death” (see mortal).


  1. Muscular stiffening following death.postmortem rigidity

  1. 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.”

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