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There's okurigana at the end but for the kanji 口 used onyomi reading "ku" instead of "kuchi"

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大辞泉 dictionary lists this as possibly being ateji.

The verb くどく probably shares its origin with the mimetic word くどくど (repetitively, at great length, etc.). Both would have existed prior to being written.

The idea is that the kanji 口 and 説 were then chosen as a way to represent the existing word, ignoring how one would read them if the idea was to make a word from 口 and 説 from scratch.

This is not unusual, and represents a source of many exceptional readings.

The dictionary isn't absolute in its assessment though, leaving open the possibility of some other origin of the orthography.

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  • Well 口説く may be 当て字, but く for 口 is just a on-reading 呉音. Others listed: 口調(kucho)、口伝(kuden)、異口同音(iku-do-on)
    – sundowner
    Aug 6, 2021 at 11:13
  • @sundowner Yes, the questioner indicated they were aware of the onyomi く, so I didn't mention it.
    – Leebo
    Aug 6, 2021 at 11:30
  • @Leebo Sorry, I'm new and I don't know what ateji is. So just to clarify, the idea is that the word already existed with its own reading of くどく and they put 2 kanji together and since the reading already exists they didn't replace it with くちどく?
    – Kanpie
    Aug 6, 2021 at 13:53
  • @Kanpie yes, although calling くどく a "reading" before it had any associated kanji is a little strange. It was just a word. If you search here for ateji, there are many related questions.
    – Leebo
    Aug 6, 2021 at 15:10
  • @Leebo If you have an opportunity, can u give me a link to the page with ateji and its patterns explained please?
    – Kanpie
    Aug 6, 2021 at 18:19

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