Know the Etymology: 15
Place Name of the Day: Friday, 16 December 2016


Pālāvi, kāḷāvik-kāṭu, Nīrāviyaṭi

பாலாவி, காளாவிக்காடு, நீராவியடி
Pālāvi, kāḷāvik-kāṭu, Nīrāviyaṭi

Pāl-āvi
Kāḷ+āvi+kāṭu
Nīr+āvi+aṭi


The milky-water pond or tank

The jungle of the dark-water pond or tank

The locality of the pond or tank of water


Āvi pond, tank (Tamil, usage seen since 7th century CE, Campantar Tēvāram, 1: 102: 9; Eezham Tamil place names); Vāvi: tank, pond (Tamil, Caṅkam diction, Paṭṭiṉappālai, 244); Vapi, Vavi, Api, Avi: tank (forms noticed in the early Brahmi inscriptions of the island, Inscriptions of Ceylon, Vol I); Vāpī: pond, tank (Sanskrit, from the root Vap, CDIAL 11529); Vāvī: pond (Prakrit, CDIAL 11529). See column on Kaduru-Vẹva
Pāl milk (Tamil, cognates in 18 Dravidian languages including Brahui, DED 1096)
Kāḷ dark, black (Tamil); from Kāḻ: blackness (Tamil, Kannada, DED 1494); Kār: (verb) to darken, grow black; (noun) blackness, darkness (Tamil, cognates in 14 Dravidian languages, DED 1278c); Kaṟu: (verb) to grow black, darken (Tamil, cognates in 12 Dravidian languages, DED 1395); Kari: (verb) to be charred become black (Tamil, DED1278 a); Kāḷuka: (verb) to burn (Malayalam, DED 1500); Kālu: to burn, be scorched (Telugu, DED 1500); Kaḷu: black, non-white "Kālavarṇaya, Nōsudupẹhẹya" (Sinhala, Sorata); Kāḷa: black, dark (Pali, CDIAL 3083); Kāla: black, dark blue (Sanskrit, Dravidian etymology cited, CDIAL 3083). Note the Ḻ/ Ḷ/ L/ Ṟ/ R changes.
Nīr water (Tamil, cognates in 14 Dravidian languages including Brahui, DED 3690); Nīra: water (Sanskrit, Dravidian etymology cited, CDIAL 7552)
Aṭi means locality, from its meanings, foot, base, bottom, origin etc., as well as from its use as a locative case affix (Tamil, DED 72)


The component Āvi, meaning a pond or tank in Eezham Tamil place names especially in the North and Northwest regions, is a cognate of Vāvi found used in Tamil since Caṅkam times and in turn is a cognate of Vāpī in Sanskrit and Vāvī in Prakrit that are traced to Indo-Aryan etymology. See Vẹva in column 14.

The word form Āvi in the meaning of a pond or tank could be noticed in Tamil literary usage since 7th century CE.

The word forms Api and Avi (which could also be read a Āpi and Āvi), meaning a tank, could be seen in the Early Brahmi inscriptions of the island, apart from the more popular forms Vapi and Vavi.

While Vẹva (Vệ in some combinations) became the common form in Sinhala after 10th century CE, the form Āvi is seen retained in some Eezham Tamil place names.

See boxes above for the Dravidian etymology of Pāl meaning milk or milky, Kāḷ meaning black or dark, Nīr meaning water and Aṭi meaning locality.

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Usage examples of Api/ Āpi and Avi/ Āvi in the Brahmi inscriptions of the island:

"Loṇapi aya (or ay/ āy) Śivaśa leṇe…" (Brahmi inscription no. 29, Inscriptions of Ceylon, Vol I)

The cave (given to the Sangha) by Śiva, the chief of Loṇapi (Loṇa-api: Loṇa-vāpi)


"…Upulavi vasika upasaka Cuḍa Hoṇaka leṇe" (Brahmi inscription no. 1112, Inscriptions of Ceylon, Vol I)

The cave (given to the Sangha) by lay devotee Cuḍa Hoṇa, a resident of Upulavi (Upul-avi: Upul-vāvi; the place got the name from a water lily tank)

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Usage example of Āvi meaning pond in Tamil literature:

"ஆவிக் கமலத்து அன்னம் இயங்கும்" (சம்பந்தர் தேவாரம் 1:102:9)

"Āvik kamalattu aṉṉam iyaṅkum" (Campantar Tēvāram, 1:102:9)

Looking like lotuses of the pond the swans were moving

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Usage example of Pālāvi:

"பாலாவியின் கரை மேல் தெங்கம் பொழில் சூழ்ந்த திருக்
கேதீச்சரத்தானே" (சுந்தரர் தேவாரம், 7: 80: 5)

"Pālāviyiṉ karai mēl teṅkam poḻil cūḻnta tiruk kēticcaratāṉē" (Cuntarar Tēvāram, 7: 80: 5)

The God (Siva) of Tirukkētīccaram (Mātōṭṭam in Maṉṉār) that is surrounded by coconut groves on the banks of Pālāvi (either a tank, or river, or river coming from a reservoir; see Kāḷāvi under related place names)

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Pālāvi is a tank name and place name found in Puttalam division of Puttalam district. It is now Sinhalicised as Pālāviya. There are other places having the name Pālāvi in Polikaṇṭi East in Vadamaratchi North division of Jaffna district and in Themaratchi division of Jaffna district. The tank at Tirukkētīccaram is also called Pālāvi. But the name was given recently. The Pālāvi noted in Tēvāram could be a river or river coming from a reservoir and flowed at this place earlier. See Kāḷāvi under related place names.

Kāḷāvik-kāṭu is a locality name in Cuḻipuram in Valikamam West division of Jaffna district (Balasundaram, p. 301)

Nīrāviyaṭi is a place in Vaṇṇārpṇṇai, in Jaffna city of Jaffna district. There is a large kēṇi type of constructed pond found at this place.

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Some related place names:

Pālāvik-kuḷam: Poṉṉāveḷi, Poonakari, Kilinochchi; Kayts, Jaffna

Pāl-nīrāvi: Pāl-nīr-āvi: Pālampiṭṭi, Madu, Mannar

Puṉṉai-nīrāvi: Kandavalai, Kilinochchi. Puṉṉai: a tree, Calophyllum inophyllum (Tamil, DED 4343)

Cīrāvi: Cōraṉpaṟṟu, Pachchilaippalli, Kilinochchi (Vākkiya Almanac)

Mallāvi: Mal-āvi: The flower pond; Thunukkai, Mullaiththeevu

Kāḷāvi: also Kāḻāvi-āṟu: Puttalam Tamil usage for Kalā-oya. Probably because the river comes to Puttalam from Kāla-vẹva reservoir built in ancient times by damming Kalā-oya, meaning the dark river

Paalaavi
Map showing the distribution of āvi.





Revised: Friday, 16 December 2016, 22:35

First published: Wednesday, 27 June 2007, 01:00

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