One night of gender-ambiguous love was all we knew

I learned a great new word today: 言寄せ妻, /koto.yose.duma/, literally "word-attracting wife". It means "a woman around one's relationship with whom rumors arise".

妻, /tuma/, is the standard word for "[one's own] wife" these days, has been for centuries as far as I can tell, and the overenthusiastic/metaphorical/sarcastic usage is also very old. For example, there's another word 一夜妻, /hito.yo.duma/, "one-night wife", which means a courtesan, or a one-night stand, or -- due to an unfortunate overlap of the "one night" idea -- the star Vega.

But you can also write hitoyoduma like this: 一夜夫. Pronounced exactly the same, it means "one-night husband", and refers to a man that one only spends a single night with. (Not Altair, though, I don't think.) In fact, this usage might even be older: it's in the Manyoushuu!

wa ga kado ni / chidori shiba naku / okiyo okiyo / wa ga hitoyoduma / hito ni shirayuna
"At my gate / many birds call and call: / "Wake up! Wake up! / Of your one-night husband / do not let others know!"*

And there are other words where /tuma/ is used in the male sense, notably 稲妻, /inaduma/ or /inazuma/, which means "lightning" but is literally written "rice-plant husband", allegedly because lightning was common in August just when the rice was about ready to harvest.
It turns out that originally /tuma/ could mean either "husband" or "wife" -- "spouse", in other words. Etymologically, some people think it is essentially the same /tuma/ as the one that means "edge" (and is related to /tume/, "finger-/toenail"). The Iwanami kogo jiten, for example, states that it is exactly the same word, and the usage dates from when new spouses would have their own place to live on the edge of their in-laws' main house. This seems too just-so to be a real etymology, but since other non-crazy proposed etymologies listed in the Nihon gogen daijiten generally rely on /mi/ (身, "body/self") turning into /ma/ through some vowel change process unknown to me, who knows?
I will note, however, that the final /ma/ in /hakama/ (袴) probably comes from /mata/, "fork/crotch". Just saying, is all.

* Or maybe the birds only call "wake up! wake up!" and the poet thinks to herself "Aw, man, people are going to find out about my one-night husband." It depends on your interpretation of 我が.

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I'm not clear... So does this word mean basically "concubine" or "women with whom you've had a one night stand" or "woman around whom there are rumors concerning you"? Or none of these?


Two different words: hitoyoduma means "one-night husband/wife" (one-night stand, etc. etc) and kotoyoseduma means "woman around whom there are rumors concerning you". I should've made that clearer.

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