Last week, people around the world celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, although notalways in the crowded venues they’re accustomed to.
The word leipreachán is indeed found in Old Irish, but its origins can be traced to the Latin word Luperci, “dwarves or water sprites”.
Fortunately, this news isn’t likely to change leprechauns’ association with Ireland and Irish culture. But it does give a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of language and the history of Ireland itself.
Read on to learn more about how the word “leprechaun”, as well as the Dictionary of Irish Language project, came to be.