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迷子 is read as まいご, despite the on-reading of 迷 being めい (for example in 迷惑(めいわく) ).

Why is that the case?

I would assume that this is not a case of jukujikun.

What I do find interesting is that the kun-reading of 迷 is まよ (as in 迷う), starting with ま, so perhaps まい is a combination of めい and まよ? Though I have never seen that before.

Or maybe it comes from the い-stem 迷う 迷い? Though that would require both dropping the よ and irregularly attributing the い to the kanji 迷, which seems odd to me.

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    確かに普通の読み方は「まいご」ですが、「まよいご」も聞いたことがあるような – Angelos Jan 7 at 23:06
  • Very interesting! It was so close to the 音読み of 迷 that I always assumed it was a 重箱読み and not 「まよいご」の音変化... – jogloran Jan 8 at 0:32
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If you look 迷子 up in a monolingual dictionary, such as 大辞林 or 大辞泉 for example, it should include a note like まよいごの音変化 (sound change from mayoigo). So yes, it was originally まよいご and changed over time.

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