Word of the Day: Rigor

Today’s word of the day came from some conversations this weekend regarding different philosophies in teaching. Being a layperson I can’t exactly remember the context of it, but I do remember thinking, “huh. I like that word.” To me, it meant holding oneself up to a certain standard, not letting yourself off the hook, and pushing the limits of your own abilities, though it may be difficult. The definition might sound the opposite of that- it may even sound pretty negative! But I liken it to the type of workout that is brutal- your body aches, it hurts just to get through, but you enjoy it all the same.

That word is rigor. It’s most colloquially used in the adjective “rigorous.”



  1. strictness, severity, or harshness, as in dealing with people.
  2. the full or extreme severity of laws, rules, etc
  3. severity of living conditions; hardship; austerity: the rigor of wartime existence.
  4. a severe or harsh act, circumstance, etc.
  5. scrupulous or inflexible accuracy or adherence: the logical rigor of mathematics.

The thesaurus likens this word to “inflexible,” “stringent” and “cruel,” which don’t exactly seem to align with the definition provided, so you can understand my confusion.

Definition via thefreedictionary.com. Illustration by me.