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[ig-nee-uh s] /ˈɪg ni əs/
Geology. produced under conditions involving intense heat, as rocks of volcanic origin or rocks crystallized from molten magma.
of, relating to, or characteristic of fire.
Origin of igneous
1655-65; < Latin igneus, equivalent to ign(is) fire + -eus -eous
Related forms
nonigneous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for igneous
Historical Examples
  • Some occurs as crystals in igneous rocks, and some in vein deposits.

    Geology William J. Miller
  • igneous rocks are formed by the cooling of molten rock material.

  • Mineral deposits formed in older geologic periods have in most cases been deeply covered by later sediments and igneous rocks.

  • These are characterized by igneous rocks of andesitic nature.

  • Let it be observed, in the first place, that there is no hard and fast line between the varieties of igneous and volcanic rocks.

  • I did not see any eruption of igneous rock on any part of the day's journey.

  • A subordinate amount may come directly from igneous emanations or from destruction of certain hydrous minerals.

  • To the southward, for fifty miles at least, nothing but igneous rocks can be seen.

    Wonders of the Yellowstone James Richardson
  • In general, graphite is primarily concentrated both by igneous processes in dikes, and by sedimentary processes in beds.

  • Occurs also as crystals in some limestones and igneous rocks.

    Geology William J. Miller
British Dictionary definitions for igneous


(of rocks) derived by solidification of magma or molten lava emplaced on or below the earth's surface Compare sedimentary, metamorphic (sense 2)
of or relating to fire
Word Origin
C17: from Latin igneus fiery, from ignis fire
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 igneous

1660s, from Latin igneus "of fire, fiery," from ignis "fire," from PIE *egni- "fire" (cf. Sanskrit agnih "fire, sacrificial fire," Old Church Slavonic ogni, Lithuanian ugnis "fire").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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igneous in Science
  1. Relating to rocks or minerals formed by the cooling and hardening of magma or molten lava. Basalt and granite are examples of igneous rocks.

  2. Relating to the processes, such as volcanism, by which such rocks and minerals form.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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