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variant of ligni- before a vowel: lignite.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does lign- mean?

Lign– is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “wood.” It is very occasionally used in scientific terms, especially in biology.

Lign– comes from Latin lignum, meaning “wood.” A Greek translation is hȳ́lē, meaning “wood” or “matter,” as in the substance of the universe, source of the combining form hylo. Another Greek-based combining form meaning “wood” is xylo. To learn more, check out our Words That Use article on the forms.

What are variants of lign-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a consonant, lign– becomes ligni, as in lignify, or ligno, as in lignocaine. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use articles on ligni– and ligno-.

Examples of lign-

One scientific term that features the form lign– is lignin, “an organic substance that, with cellulose, forms the chief part of woody tissue.”

Lign– means “wood,” as we have already seen. The second part of the word, in, is used to denote chemicals. Lignin literally means “wood chemical.”

What are some words that use the combining form lign-?

  • ligneous (using the equivalent form of lign– in Latin)
  • lignite
  • lignum (using the equivalent form of lign– in Latin)
  • lignum vitae (using the equivalent form of lign– in Latin)

What are some other forms that lign– may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The suffix eous means “resembling, having the nature of.” With this in mind, what does ligneous mean?

How to use lign- in a sentence

  • Aloes: the fragrant resin of the agalloch or lign-aloe of Scripture.

  • But they were descried; M. de Lign told me of this, saying, 'I can see the two Herons up above still rising.

    Reptiles and Birds|Louis Figuier