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.