One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A girl who is being trained to become a geisha.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Edwin Arnold (1832–1904), poet and journalist. From Japanese maiko dancing girl, specifically (in Kyoto and Osaka areas) apprentice geisha of about thirteen to eighteen years old from mahi- (now mae-), combining stem of mafu- (now mau) to dance + ko child, girl.
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