\ \ [17] Leprechaun means literally ‘little body’. It comes from an Irish compound noun made up of the adjective lulittle’ and corpbody’ (a borrowing from Latin corpus). Its original Old Irish form was luchorpán, and in modern Irish this became leipracán. The first record of its use in English is in Thomas Middleton’s Honest whore 1604: ‘as for your Irish lubrican, that spirit whom by preposterous charms thy lust hath rais’d in a wrong circle’.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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