1 [ley, ley-ee]
noun, plural leis.
(in the Hawaiian Islands) a wreath of flowers, leaves, etc., for the neck or head.

1835–45; < Hawaiian

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2 [ley]
plural of leu.


noun, plural lei [ley] .
a coin and monetary unit of Romania, equal to 100 bani. Abbreviation: L.
Also, ley.

1875–80; < Romanian: literally, lion, a designation based on Turkish arslanlι (arslan lion + -lι adj. suffix), name given to the Dutch rijksdaalder, which circulated in the later Ottoman Empire and bore the image of a lion

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lei1 (leɪ)
(in Hawaii) a garland of flowers, worn around the neck
[from Hawaiian]

lei2 (leɪ)
the plural of leu

leu (ˈleɪuː)
n , pl lei
the standard monetary unit of Romania and Moldova, divided into 100 bani
[from Romanian: lion]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1843, from Hawaiian, "ornament worn about the neck or head."

monetary unit of Romania, introduced 1867, lit. "lion." Monetary names in the Balkans often translate as "lion" because Du. gold coins stamped with lions circulated widely in the region in the 17c. and the word for "lion" came to be a word for "money" in some languages in the region.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

Leu abbr.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


a garland or necklace of flowers given in Hawaii as a token of welcome or farewell. Leis are most commonly made of carnations, kika blossoms, ginger blossoms, jasmine blossoms, or orchids and are usually about 18 inches (46 cm) long. They are bestowed with a kiss as a sign of hospitality. The traveler customarily tosses the farewell lei onto the harbour waters as his ship leaves; the drift of the lei back to the shore indicates that he will someday return to the islands. The custom of wearing leis originated with the indigenous Hawaiians, who wove necklaces of leaves or ferns or sometimes strung dried shells, fruits, beads, or bright feathers for personal adornment. Hawaiians celebrate Lei Day on May 1, symbolizing their tradition of friendliness.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Guests also receive a lei and a tropical drink while waiting for the evening's
  events to begin.
Add a floral lei to any outfit for a festive occasion.
His landmark statue, which faces the street, is often adorned with flower lei.
Activities range from bamboo pole fishing to kite flying, and lei making and
  learning the ukulele.
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