Botany. an organic substance that, with cellulose, forms the chief part of woody tissue.
Papermaking. impure matter found in wood pulp.

1815–25; lign- + -in2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lignin (ˈlɪɡnɪn)
a complex polymer occurring in certain plant cell walls making the plant rigid

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1822, from L. lignum "wood" (see lecture) + -in.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
lignin   (lĭg'nĭn)  Pronunciation Key 
A complex organic compound that binds to cellulose fibers and hardens and strengthens the cell walls of plants. Lignin is a polymer consisting of various aromatic alcohols, and is the chief noncarbohydrate constituent of wood.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The cause was the chemical compound lignin, which plants use to build
  themselves up.
Besides cellulose, there are hemicellulose and lignin.
Lignin is a complex highly crosslinked array of phenyl propylene units that has
  its biosynthetic origin in phenylalanine.
Among them are ways to suppress genes that produce lignin, a plant component
  that must be chemically removed to make paper.
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