A leprechaun (Irish: leipreachán) is a type of fairy in Irish folklore, usually taking the form of an old man, clad in a red or green coat, who enjoys partaking in mischief. Like other fairy creatures, leprechauns have been linked to the Tuatha Dé Danann of Irish mythology. The Leprechauns spend all their time busily making shoes, and store away all their coins in a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If ever captured by a human, the Leprechaun has the magical power to grant three wishes in exchange for their release. Popular depiction shows the Leprechaun as being no taller than a small child, with a beard and hat, although they may originally have been perceived as the tallest of the mound-dwellers (the Tuatha Dé Danann).
The name leprechaun is derived from the Irish word leipreachán, defined by Patrick Dinneen
as "a pigmy, a sprite, or leprechaun". The further derivation is less
certain; according to most sources, the word is thought to be a
corruption of Middle Irish luchrupán, from the Old Irish luchorpán, a compound of the roots lú (small) and corp (body). The root corp, which was borrowed from the Latin corpus, attests to the early influence of Ecclesiastical Latin on the Irish language. The alternative spelling leithbrágan stems from a folk etymology deriving the word from leith (half) and bróg (brogue), because of the frequent portrayal of the leprechaun as working on a single shoe.
Alternative spellings in English have included lubrican, leprehaun, and lepreehawn. Some modern Irish books use the spelling lioprachán. The first recorded instance of the word in the English language was in Dekker's comedy The Honest Whore, Part 2 (1604): "As for your Irish lubrican, that spirit / Whom by preposterous charms thy lust hath rais'd / In a wrong circle."