• Lek


    • Rhymes: -É›k

    Origin 1

    Alternative forms

    From Germanic roots meaning "play". In the biology sense, it comes specifically from Swedish lek ("child's play") in 1871, by means of Swedish leka ("to play").

    Full definition of lek



    (plural leks)
    1. (biology) An aggregation of male animals for the purposes of courtship and display.
      • 1975, E. O. Wilson, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, figure caption, 2000, page 333,Each of the three displaying cocks occupies a small territory at the mating center of the lek.
      • 1997, John Kricher, A Neotropical Companion, Given that a combination of factors have "released" males from attending nests, why have some species organized their courtship bouts in leks, especially the tightly clumped leks that are typical of manakins and cocks-of-the-rock?
      • 2007, Kentwood D. Wells, The Ecology and Behavior of Amphibians, page 352,Nevertheless, it does appear that many of the processes of mate choice and sexual selection described for bird and mammal leks also apply to anuran choruses.


    1. (biology) To take part in the courtship and display behaviour of a lek.
      • 1994, M. B. Andersson, Sexual Selection, page 164,Males in many lekking species have conspicuous morphological ornaments that may be targets of female choice, but male contest competition may also be involved.
      • 2000, George Barlow, The Cichlid Fishes: Nature's Grand Experiment In Evolution, page 79,The second reason lekking is so fascinating is because the males aggregate.
      • 2010, Boaz Yuval, Jorge Hendrichs 17: Behavior of Fruit Fly in the Genus Ceratitis (Dacinae: Ceratitidini), Martin Aluja, Allen Norrbom (editors), Fruit Flies (Tephritidae): Phylogeny and Evolution of Behavior, page 437,In a recent study (Yuval et al. 1998), the size and weight of males captured either lekking or resting at the same time in the vicinity of leks were measured.
      • 2010, Robert Michael Pyle, Mariposa Road: The First Butterfly Big Year, unnumbered page,Half a dozen of the thumbnail-size males lekked in a sunny glade.
    2. (UK, dialect, Yorkshire, colloquial) To play.T’lads are lekkin in t’park.

    Usage notes

    The Yorkshire dialect word is rarely written and is pronounced differently in the different Ridings of Yorkshire. Compare laik, layk.

    Origin 2

    From Albanian lek, named after Alexander the Great, whose name is often shortened to Leka in Albanian.



    (plural leks or lekë)
    1. (currency unit)The currency unit of Albania, divided into 100 qindarka.
      • 1992, Mario I. Bléjer, Albania: From Isolation Toward Reform, page 56,With the loss of control by the Government over foreign exchange surrender requirements and the almost complete depletion of foreign exchange reserves, in early 1992 the official rate was further devalued to leks 50 = $1.
      • 1997, Igor Artimiev, Gary J. Fine, Country Studies: Albania, Ira W. Lieberman, Stilpon S. Nestor, Raj M. Desai, Between State and Market: Mass Privatization in Transition Economies, page 178,Enterprise shares are sold at voucher auctions in exchange for either immaterial privatization leks (through a bank transfer from the bidder's privatization lek account) or through privatization vouchers, which are submitted at the time of bidding.
      • 2003, Iraj Hoshi, Ewa Balcerowicz, Leszek Balcerowicz, Barriers to Entry and Growth of New Firms in Early Transition, page 253,Value Added Tax is another tax imposed on all enterprises with a yearly turnover of more than 2 million Leks. VAT was introduced in the Albanian tax system in 1995 replacing the old turnover tax.


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