Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A location where male animals of the same species gather and often present displays and where females go to select a male to mate with.
  • noun A group of males gathered at such a place.
  • intransitive verb To have a mating system in which males form leks.
  • intransitive verb To participate in a lek.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An assemblage of black cocks, Tetrao tetrix, during the pairing season, when the birds select their mates.
  • A dialectal variant of lake.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun biology An aggregation of male animals for the purposes of courtship and display.
  • verb biology To take part in the courtship and display behaviour of a lek.
  • verb UK, dialect, Yorkshire, colloquial To play.
  • noun The currency unit of Albania, divided into 100 qindarka.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the basic unit of money in Albania

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Short for Swedish lekställe, playground, mating ground (as of black grouse) : lek, play, sport, mating; see fartlek + ställe, place.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Albanian, after Lek, Dukagjin, 15th-century Albanian feudal lord and lawgiver.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Albanian lek.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").

Support

Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word lek.

Examples

  • Lekking behavior, biologists call it, and the display site itself is known as a lek.

    The Song of The Dodo David Quammen 2004

  • Lekking behavior, biologists call it, and the display site itself is known as a lek.

    The Song of The Dodo David Quammen 2004

  • I have no doubt the two party crashers at my lek were the same two I had flushed off their pole four miles back.

    grouse Diary Entry grouse 2003

  • Fortunately we were off to finally check Scottys Peak lek, which is only about a dozen miles from town.

    grouse Diary Entry grouse 2002

  • In ornithology, a lek is a pocket of forest where male birds put on curious sexual displays.

    NYT > Home Page By ANTHONY DOERR 2011

  • The only known 'lek' mating system in any marine mammal in the world is observable amongst South Cove dugong.

    Shark Bay, Australia 2008

  • (It wasn't until I was parked at the second new lek, which is actually the first new lek, that I remember one if the reasons I bought this Olympus camera is because it can use regular alkaline batteries.

    grouse Diary Entry grouse 2005

  • "The female Twi'lek's voice was tinged with just a touch of cynicism.

    The Cat is a Metaphor 2010

  • We did not find the lek but discovered some beautiful natural outcrops of rock and juniper, and raced from one to the next, proclaiming each rock-and-tree arrangement more handsome than the last.

    Bird Cloud Annie Proulx 2011

  • We did not find the lek but discovered some beautiful natural outcrops of rock and juniper, and raced from one to the next, proclaiming each rock-and-tree arrangement more handsome than the last.

    Bird Cloud Annie Proulx 2011

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A traditional place where males assemble during the mating season and engage in competitive displays that attract females.

    Oh, I forgot to say "birds." Male birds. ;->

    October 13, 2007

  • Haha, how could the dictionary leave that part out?

    October 13, 2007

  • Also the currency of Albania (I think).

    October 13, 2007

  • Yes, see its presence on my Filthy Stinking Rich list.

    October 13, 2007

  • They must need an editor, uselessness.

    Yes, it is Albanian currency, but that should never be used to buy a girl bird a drink. Unless, of course, you're in Albania.

    October 13, 2007

  • *holding head*

    October 13, 2007

  • Errrr - certain ungulates and I think some bats use leks as well...

    October 13, 2007

  • True, trivet. But they probably have more fun at the bars.

    October 13, 2007

  • ...showing off to the opposite sex in groups is a strategy used by many animals (it is known as lekking).

    - "Why Music?", The Economist, vol. 389 no. 8611, p. 42

    December 24, 2008

  • Sorry darling, you're out of lek.

    October 22, 2009

  • "Men show off; women pretend to be impressed—the eternal circle of the selective lek."

    Winter by Adam Gopnik, p 147 of the House of Anansi paperback edition

    June 23, 2012

  • One of the most brilliantly coloured of South American birds (and there are many) is the Andean cock-of-the-rock. The male has the most intensely red body, a jet-black tail and outermost wing feathers, and unexpectedly silvery-white innermost wing feathers. So-named because it nests among rocks on cliff ledges, and because of its cocky Mohican-like crest, this pigeon-sized bird is a major draw to birdwatchers visiting Ecuador. The males display in groups, referred to as 'leks' . . . .
    Tim Birkhead, Bird Sense: What It's Like to Be a Bird (New York: Walker & Co., 2012), pp. 19-20.

    May 30, 2016

  • My new favorite word, birdwise.

    December 19, 2019