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[lep-ruh-kawn, -kon] /ˈlɛp rəˌkɔn, -ˌkɒn/
noun, Irish Folklore.
a dwarf or sprite.
a conventionalized literary representation of this figure as a little old man who will reveal the location of a hidden crock of gold to anyone who catches him.
Origin of leprechaun
1595-1605; < Irish leipreachán, lucharachán, MIr luchrapán, lupra(c)cán, metathesized forms of Old Irish lúchorp(án), equivalent to lú- small + corp body (< Latin corpus) + -án diminutive suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for leprechaun
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • All that is said in this legend about the beer is a pure fiction, for we never heard of a leprechaun drinking or smoking.

    The Fairy Mythology Thomas Keightley
  • And so you call my son a leprechaun, and he has legs like raipin' hooks!

  • Now the fairy that we are going to meet in this story is called the leprechaun, or fairy shoemaker.

    Shaun O'Day of Ireland Madeline Brandeis
  • The word "leprechaun" comes from two Irish words meaning "one shoe."

    Shaun O'Day of Ireland Madeline Brandeis
  • In a trice the Phoenix had pounced on the leprechaun and pinned him to the ground.

    David and the Phoenix Edward Ormondroyd
  • But no one had been with Patch when he had seen the leprechaun.

    Shaun O'Day of Ireland Madeline Brandeis
  • "He turned his poor old mother out of doors, the other day," observed the leprechaun, quietly.

    The Bunsby papers John Brougham
  • They were forced to believe that Shaun was truly in the land of the leprechaun!

    Shaun O'Day of Ireland Madeline Brandeis
  • And I am the fairy Princess who once stole Shaun from the leprechaun.

    Shaun O'Day of Ireland Madeline Brandeis
British Dictionary definitions for leprechaun


(in Irish folklore) a mischievous elf, often believed to have a treasure hoard
Word Origin
C17: from Irish Gaelic leipreachān, from Middle Irish lūchorpān, from small + corp body, from Latin corpus body
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for leprechaun

c.1600, from Irish lupracan, metathesis from Old Irish luchorpan literally "a very small body," from lu "little" (from PIE *legwh- "having little weight;" see light (adj.)) + corpan, diminutive of corp "body," from Latin corpus "body" (see corporeal). Commonly spelled lubrican in 17c. English. Leithbragan is Irish folk etymology, from leith "half" + brog "brogue," because the spirit was "supposed to be always employed in making or mending a single shoe."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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