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[lig-nin] /ˈlɪg nɪn/
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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Examples from the web for lignin
  • 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.
  • In contrast, the sewage that streams in from sewer pipes contains plant matter that is high in cellulose and low in lignin.
  • They have built a scale prototype cellulose ethanol plant that uses lignin to generate steam and electricity.
  • There are initiatives already in place to extract lignin from woody tissue and ferment the cellulose at much higher value.
British Dictionary definitions for lignin


a complex polymer occurring in certain plant cell walls making the plant rigid
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for lignin

1822, from Latin lignum "wood" (see ligni-) + chemical suffix -in (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lignin in Science
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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