The word's further etymology is disputed; it is traditionally explained as a compound containing lú (“small”, from Proto-Indo-European *h₁lengʷʰ-) + corp (“body”, which is from Latin corpus). However, an alternative suggestion is that it is a derivative of Latin Lupercī (“priests of Lupercus”), who were misinterpreted as an antediluvian species by medieval Irish scholars.
leprechaun (plural leprechauns)
- (Irish folklore) One of a race of elves that can reveal hidden treasure to those who catch them.
- 1888, William Butler Yeats, Irish Fairy and Folk Tales:
- Do you not catch the tiny clamour,
Busy click of an elfin hammer,
Voice of the leprechaun singing shrill,
As he merrily plies his trade?
leprechaun m (invariable)