[leer-uh; It. lee-rah]
Lira is the name of the monetary unit of a number of countries, as well as the former currency of Italy, Malta, San Marino and the Vatican City. The term originates from the value of a Troy pound (Latin libra) of high purity silver, and as such is a direct cognate of the British pound sterling; in some countries, such as Cyprus, the words lira and pound are used as equivalents. L, sometimes in a double-crossed script form () or less often single-crossed (£), is usually used as the symbol.


The word Libra developed its Lira shape from Italian, a language famed for its loss of initial consonants in two-part clusters (ie. Doctor = dottore). Evidence of this still exists in Great Britain and the USA where pound is a weight measurement, and represented by letters lb.

Current uses


The Turkish lira was introduced in the mid 1870s. The New Turkish Lira, equivalent to 1,000,000 old lira, is the current currency of Turkey and Northern Cyprus, issued on January 1 2005. New Turkish Lira will be replaced by Turkish Lira after January 1 2009.


The Lebanese pound is called "lira or livre" in local languages.


The Syrian pound is called "lira" in national language of Syria, Arabic.


A widely-used name of Jordanian dinar is lira.

The Bulgarian language refers to the English pound as lira (or occasionally paund to reflect English phonology) in opposition to Croatian which refers to the Italian as liri and the English as funti (from German).

Former currencies

External links

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