It’s a tough choice, the first ever LETTERSWIRL Word of the Week. So why “lek?” I suspected that it wasn’t a real word until I looked it up.

Lek Currency

Noun: lek; the basic monetary unit of Albania, equal to 100 qintars

Interesting, but was it blog worthy? At first, I didn’t think so. Luckily, just before I closed the book, the second definition caught my eye.

Noun: lek; a patch of ground used for communal display in the breeding season by the males of certain birds and mammals, especially black grouse

verb: lek; take part in a communal breeding display on a lek

"antelopes mate in lekking grounds"

Well, this merited some deeper research. Time to dust off the encyclopedia.

Each male defends a small territory in order to attract females for mating. Varying degrees of interaction occur between the males, from virtually none to closely cooperative dancing. Females visit the lek briefly to select mates and to copulate, but they do not form lasting pair bonds with the males. Lek behaviour, also called arena behaviour, is found in a number of insects, birds, and mammals.

Hmmm… mammals? Some of my best friends are mammals. (Sorry, I just had to get my two leks in.)

Lek Birds

But in the end, it was actually the etymology that sold me:

Origin: late 19th century, perhaps from Swedish “leka”, meaning “to play”.

That clinched it. I like to play, and what better way to celebrate Words of the Week?

I could go on. If you totally want your mind blown, look up Lekking and the Lek Paradox. Who knew that a tiny three letter word could lead to such complicated concepts?

Finally, I couldn’t help checking Wikipedia and found these other references:

Lek (pharmaceutical company), now part of Sandoz, the generic drug subsidiary of Novartis

Lek (river), a river in the west of the Netherlands

De Lek, a former manorial fiefdom in the Netherlands

L.E.K. Consulting, international strategy consulting firm

Lek, the family nickname of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand

Lek or Lekë, an abbreviated form of Alexander

Lek, a fictional form of Cardassian currency in Star Trek

Star Trek? Really? But you probably knew that already.

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