Definition of rigid in English:



  • 1Unable to bend or be forced out of shape; not flexible.

    ‘a seat of rigid orange plastic’
    • ‘The many other materials which have been used can be divided into two broad types: rigid, like wood; and flexible, like canvas.’
    • ‘The result is the new ‘lightweight armor’ shoe, which has a flexible forefoot and a rigid heel.’
    • ‘It looked to be some sort of leathery tissue, but in a strangely rigid shape.’
    • ‘These pioneers used rigid poles made of ash; flexible bamboo poles were introduced around 1900, and the modern fibreglass variety was first used in 1956.’
    • ‘It's flexible polymer clay that hardens into rigid plastic after a spell in your kitchen oven.’
    • ‘Although the nanostructure looks like a spring, it is actually rigid, rather than elastic, and holds its shape even when it is isolated.’
    • ‘Among them are lidding film for rigid cups, flexible pouches for pet foods and beverage pouches for juices.’
    • ‘The halls extended for about 30 feet in each direction before turning at a rigid edge to fit the precise triangular shape of the ship.’
    • ‘The cabin has plenty of storage spaces, but the door pockets would be much more useful with flexible sides instead of rigid ones.’
    • ‘Some farmers add rigid plastic part of the way up the sides of the greenhouse if using roll-up sides.’
    • ‘By using flexible fabrics instead of conventional rigid molds, concrete elements can vary in volume according to structural requirements.’
    • ‘The whole grid should be rigid, its angles and distances fixed and proportionate.’
    • ‘The man sat calmly in the rigid plastic chair, his hands paced lightly on the cheap desk in front of him.’
    • ‘Like plaster piece-moulds, they require a rigid mother mould made of plaster or a synthetic resin.’
    • ‘Most of them are cast in a somewhat soft and pliable plastic and at first I was disappointed in this thinking that a more rigid plastic would have been preferable.’
    stiff, hard, firm, inflexible, non-flexible, unbending, unyielding, inelastic
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    1. 1.1 (of a person or part of their body) stiff and unmoving, especially as a result of shock or fear.
      ‘Beatrice was rigid with terror’
      • ‘His shoulders were rigid with anger, but at the same time, a tear escaped his eye.’
      • ‘His blue eyes pierced me and made my body feel suddenly rigid with fear.’
      • ‘After a long moment, her shoulders, which had been rigid with tension, suddenly slumped.’
      • ‘Almost like a wave starting from her toes, her muscles began to tighten in sequence until she was rigid.’
      • ‘She was rigid, staring blank at the screen, though her heart beat with excitement.’
      • ‘Tyro found himself rigid, unable to move, and unable to breath.’
      • ‘Looking over at her properly for the first time since getting into her car, he noticed her slim body was rigid with tension, her knuckles white from holding the steering wheel in a deathly grip.’
      • ‘Her heart was racing and her body became rigid with fear.’
      • ‘Her mind was completely void of emotions and her body was rigid.’
      • ‘Her very face seems stiff and her whole body is rigid.’
      • ‘His body abruptly became rigid with fear and anticipation.’
      • ‘Until a week ago, he was demented, rigid, incontinent, unable to talk, swallow or blink his eyes.’
      • ‘I turned around and marched away, my body unexplainably stiff and rigid.’
      • ‘His whole body is rigid and I didn't think it was possible for him to go any paler but he has; he looks like a ghost.’
      • ‘His body was rigid, his gaze unmoving, fixed on some point on the wall behind the German, his expression entirely unreadable.’
      • ‘Adrianna felt paralyzed; her limbs became rigid and stiff with shock.’
      • ‘Immediately, he sat up, his body taut and rigid as he strained to listen to their conversation.’
      • ‘Her body was completely rigid, and her hands were clutching her sheets.’
      • ‘She was rigid with terror at the very thought of it.’
      • ‘She clenched her teeth and stayed motionless, waiting for his reply, although her entire body was rigid with pent fury.’
  • 2Not able to be changed or adapted.

    ‘rigid bureaucratic controls’
    • ‘A more rigid work schedule has forced changes, and now the main meal is taken in the evening.’
    • ‘Smaller businesses may be relatively flexible in terms of not being bound by rigid corporate policies, giving individuals greater opportunities to shape their working routines.’
    • ‘And Lula would likely have to shelve plans to reform rigid labor laws, overhaul a dysfunctional judiciary, and streamline a bewildering tax system.’
    • ‘Because unions and management, alike, have been rigid and inflexible.’
    • ‘These people follow a strict, rigid code of social custom and behavior, and judge the people who do not follow the rules.’
    • ‘Diminishing fiscal flexibility and a relatively rigid political system in China put constraints on the credit ratings, however.’
    • ‘For a while he tried to get along with social services, but they were too rigid.’
    • ‘This indicates that the bargaining model in Italy is not rigid, but flexible and adaptable.’
    • ‘The law is not, perhaps, ferocious, but the tests are rigid and factual, and the cases that result are easy and automatic.’
    • ‘If you had a strategy, it was rigid and inflexible.’
    • ‘To move beyond rigid rules and roles, the twenty-first century nurse must not only understand nursing and medical language, but use it confidently.’
    • ‘You have to make a cut at categorising these things and it is a matter of judgment rather than following a rigid rule book in many cases.’
    • ‘You, and I myself, grew up in a rigid society, unchanging except for War.’
    • ‘They are setting up rigid control processes with high levels of IT security.’
    • ‘Through the end of the twentieth century, Kenyan households maintained rigid rules concerning women's roles within the patriarchal household.’
    • ‘The inclusion of a rigid rule against capital controls in a trade agreement makes things even worse.’
    • ‘Automated programs follow a rigid set of rules that may not adequately reproduce the common sense we humans use when reviewing a page.’
    • ‘High wages and rigid labor rules have hurt productivity, eroded earnings, and made companies reluctant to hire.’
    • ‘Unlike the normal school year, the summer is filled with a crowd of instructors that is unfamiliar with the rigid rules usually inflicted upon the students.’
    • ‘A ten-year programme was introduced to wipe out the liability by introducing rigid controls on expenditure relating to the upkeep of churches.’
    fixed, set, firm, inflexible, unalterable, unchangeable, immutable, unvarying, invariable, hard and fast, cast-iron
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    1. 2.1 Not adaptable in outlook, belief, or response.
      ‘the College had not wanted to be too rigid in imposing teaching methods’
      • ‘They're rigid about their proposals and strategies, but compromise on their core values.’
      • ‘Designers are flexible and intuitive rather than rigid and exacting.’
      • ‘They contend that large swathes of the population are becoming more rigid in their political allegiances.’
      • ‘I have a feeling that Horton's style wasn't as rigid as the way that it has been passed down.’
      • ‘So they often run the risk of becoming dogmatic and overly rigid in their thinking process.’
      • ‘Those who accuse [us] of social engineering often have very narrow, rigid view about the way the world should be and everyone should conform with that.’
      • ‘By being so rigid, he is unable to adapt and trust.’
      • ‘She was also notorious for her rude comments and rigid opinions on style.’
      • ‘A willingness to listen to and at least partially incorporate the other point of view has replaced the rigid and uncompromising attitude of the past.’
      • ‘Open toleration of such attitudes became problematic as Jim became more rigid.’
      strict, severe, stern, stringent, rigorous, inflexible, uncompromising, resolute, determined, immovable, unshakeable
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  • A lorry which is not articulated.


Late Middle English: from Latin rigidus, from rigere ‘be stiff’.