Definition of lignite in US English:



  • A soft brownish coal showing traces of plant structure, intermediate between bituminous coal and peat.

    • ‘Perhaps the hydrothermal activity served as the impetus for the enhancement of coal rank from lignite or subbituminous to high volatile A bituminous.’
    • ‘Rice husks release about 16 joules of energy per kilogram, about the same as lignite but less than bituminous coal's 25 joules.’
    • ‘It is overlain by the lower shale member, which consists of interbedded carbonaceous shale and lignite that accumulated in coastal marsh and swamps landward of the shoreline.’
    • ‘The principal crops are wheat, maize, barley, sugar beet, potatoes, and grapes, while mineral resources include bauxite, brown coal, lignite, and copper.’
    • ‘The sediments include lacustrine freshwater limestones, silts, marls, occasional sands and local lignite.’
    • ‘According to him, in Germany, 50 per cent of the power comes from coal and 30 per cent from lignite.’
    • ‘Germany's chief natural resources are iron ore, bituminous coal and lignite, potash, timber, lignite, natural gas, salt, and nickel.’
    • ‘In the lower third of the unit, a conspicuous 15-40 cm thick lignite with quartz grit matrix occurs and includes plant stem fragments, some more than 5 cm long.’
    • ‘Europe, for instance, has sufficient amounts of brown coal, or lignite, to keep the continent supplied with electrical power for the next 200 years or so.’
    • ‘Coal and lignite and mineral oils were de-reserved from exclusive public sector production.’
    • ‘Depending on the degree of carbon concentration and coalification, one differentiates between lignite, bituminous coal and anthracite.’
    • ‘Coal is usually classified into the sub-groups known as anthracite, bituminous, lignite, and peat.’
    • ‘Peats will in situ change successively to lignite, to bituminous coal, and eventually to anthracite.’
    • ‘The republic has supplies of coal and lignite (brown coal) and uranium ore.’
    • ‘Repeatedly, descriptions of lignite, which may be associated with floodplain sequences, are reported.’
    • ‘Mining is focused on lignite, bauxite, asbestos, and marble.’
    • ‘The plant burns lignite coal from the Maritsa Iztok mining complex and produces a large amount of sulphur dioxide.’
    • ‘The Tertiary coal of northern Thailand is classified according to coal rank as lignite to bituminous coal.’
    • ‘That plant burned lignite to raise steam for the compressors.’
    • ‘Although by no means restricted to the Neogene, these economically important sequences include brown coals or lignites, which underlie large areas and include substantial fluvial sequences of this age.’


Early 19th century: coined in French from Latin lignum ‘wood’ + -ite.