LUCHORPÁN appears in medieval Irish texts to refer to a supernatural creature, which eventually became known in English as a ‘leprechaun’. LUCHORPÁN is often regarded as being made up of LÚ ‘something small’ and CORP ‘body’, but this word occurs in various different forms, including LUPRACÁN, LUCHRUPÁN and LUCHARBÁN. In early references, these creatures are sometimes identified as one of the ‘monstrous races’, descended from either Cain, son of Adam, or Cham, son of Noah. Indeed, one Old Irish text specifically names LUCHORPÁIN alongside ‘cach écosc dodelbda archena fil for doínib’ (every other misshapen form that is amongst humanity)!
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