- leprechaun c.1600, from Ir. lupracan, metathesis from O.Ir. luchorpan lit. "a very small body," from lu "little" (from PIE *legwh- "having little weight;" see LIGHT (Cf. light) (adj.)) + corpan, dim. of corp "body," from L. corpus "body" (see CORPOREAL (Cf. 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."
Etymology dictionary. 2014.