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Sri Lankan English - Updates L

This page contains updates to the dictionary beginning with the letter L. It is divided into 2 parts: New Entries, and Comments and Corrections. Click here to return to the main updates page, or on the links on the left side of the page to go to another letter.

These pages are updated regularly; please contact me if you have any suggestions or feedback which can be included.

Latest update: September 2015. New additions are in red.


Landmaster (= hand tractor) (brand name)
The best known example of Ray’s innovation is the Land Master (1955) -- the world’s first two-wheeled hand tractor intended to help small farmers in the tropics to mechanise their field work. (
Nine dead after land master falls into canal (Ceylon Today 18/04/14)

land phone: land line telephone (also India etc.; less common in BSE)
A missive addressed to top Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) officials of a decision to stop issuance of land phones to subscribers has raised eyebrows. (The Nation online 08/04/07)

lanket/lunket: men’s underwear (from Hindi?)
I hated when Leandro washed and hung his multicoloured lankets. His normal washing he hung outside, but his lankets he always hung inside the room … Leandro had a string drawn right across the room to hang his lankets. (Sam’s Story, by Elmo Jayawardena, page 12)
The most they did was to call a master Red Lunket for wearing red underwear … (The Moon in the Water, by Ameena Hussein, page 93)

Incidentally we attempted to discover the meaning of the word Lanket but the Chambers or Oxford dictionaries failed to help us. So we thought it might be a word borrowed from the Indian subcontinent next door. Lo and behold we found it at last to come from a Hindi word Lankothi meaning the underwear of men in India. (Daily News 06/11/01)
Even as Weerawansa went public with the JVP position, other MPs of the Marxist party were huddled in intense discussions in the parliamentary lobby with firebrand MP, K.D. Lalkantha telling opposition members the President had presented a budget that had removed the government’s ‘lunket.’ (Sunday Leader 11/11/07)

leafy: (of tea) with large leaves
He said that Orthodox leafy tea production is accelerating in the country with even high grown areas moving towards leafy tea manufacture. (Sunday Observer 20/07/08)

learners: (coll.) driving school (also in names, e.g. Daya Learners)
You’ll see a learners on the left hand side of the road.

let: to let somebody to do something: to let somebody do something (> make)
> This is recognised as an error in standard usage, but is common in South Asian English and other varieties.
I will not let my children to contest election – President (DM 13/04/15)

like: I like: (coll.) I like it (also love, hate) (> doubt, hate, prefer)
That is why I do not like when people ask so many questions from me. (Sam’s Story, by Elmo Jayawardena, page 3)
I liked when he said nice things like that. (Sam’s Story, by Elmo Jayawardena, page 29)

Lion Lager: a popular brand of lager
On our last night in Hikkaduwa, we are perched on a fishing boat bobbing in the water when it is discovered that the last Lion Lager has been drunk. (Island of a Thousand Mirrors, by Nayomi Munaweera, page 198)
A waiter came up, and knowing what Mili liked I ordered two Lion Lagers. (The Hungry Ghosts, by Shyam Selvadurai, page 199)

… plates of devilled cuttlefish, washed down with soapy wet Lion Lagers. (Strange Fruit, by Afdhel Aziz, page 117)

liquor: (of tea) the brew in the cup (as opposed to the dry leaf)
These leaves result in liquor darker than that of other teas. (
Elite among these tippy teas is the Silver Tip tea comprising only of the fine bud and brews a liquor that is even lighter than green tea. ( 11/13)

liquoring: (of tea) having a good liquor
Liquoring tea market weakens
A sharp decline in buyer interest was witnessed for liquoring teas at this week’s tea Auction. (Island 19/06/03)
Very light liquoring teas made from ‘tippy teas’ are also sought after in the Middle-East. (Nation 04/06/06)

LKR: Sri Lankan rupees
Exchange Rates for converting Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) (

lobaya: (coll.) a stingy person (Sinhala)
....jst a suggestion frm a budget traveller…not a lobaya...:D.:D (comment on

loku aiya/akka/putha/duwa: eldest brother/sister/son/daughter (Sinhala)
Waiting for a letter from his loku aiya. (All is Burning, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 13)
I give instructions to loku duwa to feed the children and put them to sleep … (All is Burning, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 355)
Loku Akka will have to have first choice no Sharmini, after all she is my elder sister.” (The Mango Tree, by Anthea Senaratna, page 28)
“You know what Loku Aiya said about me, no?” (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 61)

loku maama; loku nenda: uncle (mother's elder brother); aunt (father's elder sister) (Sinhala)
There were helpless young mothers in our extended family circle who professed to learn how to bathe their infants from their Loku Amma or Loku Nanda as the case may be. (Somewhere, by Vijita Fernando, page 114)
To this date I remember my Loku Nenda saying, ‘Pray for your team to win, but never pray or ask that the opponent should lose’. (Daily News 14/01/10)
I still recall vividly our first meeting in the early 1970s when we joined Loku Maama, Aunty Lillian and family for a wonderful holiday at your family estate Kabaragala, in the salubrious climes of the hill country. (The Island 27/07/13)
Now he will start making the transfers of the people 'loku maama' wants to get rid of. (Daily Mirror 18/01/13)

long beans (= maekaral): a variety of green bean (also Malaysia/Singapore)
(Click here to see a photograph)
Long beans we found very often in Sri Lanka. (

long whistle: (in newspaper reports) full time in a rugby or football match (> short whistle)
The score line at the long whistle read 17-10 in favour of the Royalists. ( 09/06/08)
… and then just prior to the long whistle Vishwamithra Jayasinghe … sneaked in to run almost 35 yards to touch down. (Sunday Times 14/12/14)

low-grown: (of tea) grown at a low elevation (below 600m or 2000 ft)(> high-grown, mid-grown)
The tea industry is in a cash crunch with over half of low grown teas remaining unsold at the Colombo Tea Auctions. (Sunday Times 26/10/08)
New all-time high for low grown teas (Daily Mirror 06/09/13)

lunumidella: Ceylon mahogany (Melia azedarach), a type of wood used for ceilings, etc. (Sinhala)
Iron trusses and Lunumidella ceiling planks and Calicut tiles have replaced the original half round tile roof, which was on timber rafters and reepers. (The Nation online 07/01/07)


lamprais (not lamprai): a rice meal baked in a plantain leaf (from Dutch lomprijst)
(Click here to see a photograph)

laundry soap: DELETE (common in other varieties of English)

leading: not only leading school, also common with other nouns, e.g. available at all leading bookshops

light bill: DELETE (also found in other varieties of English)

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