One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A Japanese girl or young (especially unmarried) woman; a Japanese waitress, maid, or mistress.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Christopher Pemberton Hodgson (1821–1865), traveller. From Japanese musume daughter, girl from (u)musu to be born, to grow + me female. For the loss of the partially devoiced medial vowel compare moxa. Compare French musmé, mousmé.
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