Definition of lignite in US English:



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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Tertiary coal of northern Thailand is classified according to coal rank as lignite to bituminous coal.’
    • ‘Peats will in situ change successively to lignite, to bituminous coal, and eventually to anthracite.’
    • ‘That plant burned lignite to raise steam for the compressors.’
    • ‘The republic has supplies of coal and lignite (brown coal) and uranium ore.’
    • ‘The plant burns lignite coal from the Maritsa Iztok mining complex and produces a large amount of sulphur dioxide.’
    • ‘Coal is usually classified into the sub-groups known as anthracite, bituminous, lignite, and peat.’
    • ‘Germany's chief natural resources are iron ore, bituminous coal and lignite, potash, timber, lignite, natural gas, salt, and nickel.’
    • ‘Repeatedly, descriptions of lignite, which may be associated with floodplain sequences, are reported.’
    • ‘Coal and lignite and mineral oils were de-reserved from exclusive public sector production.’
    • ‘Perhaps the hydrothermal activity served as the impetus for the enhancement of coal rank from lignite or subbituminous to high volatile A bituminous.’
    • ‘Depending on the degree of carbon concentration and coalification, one differentiates between lignite, bituminous coal and anthracite.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mining is focused on lignite, bauxite, asbestos, and marble.’
    • ‘According to him, in Germany, 50 per cent of the power comes from coal and 30 per cent from lignite.’
    • ‘The sediments include lacustrine freshwater limestones, silts, marls, occasional sands and local lignite.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rice husks release about 16 joules of energy per kilogram, about the same as lignite but less than bituminous coal's 25 joules.’


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