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leprechaun

[lep-ruh-kawn, -kon] /ˈlɛp rəˌkɔn, -ˌkɒn/
noun, Irish Folklore.
1.
a dwarf or sprite.
2.
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
1595-1605
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
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for leprechauns
  • The fairy tale legions of leprechauns, fairies, and goblins are also tricksters.
  • He introduces the leprechauns-the midget boxers dressed all in green, carrying pots of gold.
  • And when they try to confuse her with midgets, dressed up as leprechauns, she runs away to a convent and tries to take the veil.
British Dictionary definitions for leprechauns

leprechaun

/ˈlɛprəˌkɔːn/
noun
1.
(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 leprechauns

leprechaun

n.

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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leprechauns in Culture

leprechauns definition


In the folklore of Ireland, little men who resemble elves. Supposedly, leprechauns can reveal — but only to someone clever enough to catch them — the location of buried treasure, typically a crock of gold hidden at the end of the rainbow.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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