Know the Etymology: 22
Place Name of the Day: Saturday, 22 April 2017


Kacca-tīvu, Kaccāy, Kacci-gala, Vaṭṭak-kacci, Veḍi-kacciya/ Veḍḍi-kacci

கச்சதீவு, கச்சாய், கச்சிக₃ல, வட்டக்கச்சி, வெடி₃[க்]கச்சிய/ வெட்₃டி₃[க்]கச்சி
Kacca-tīvu, Kaccāy, Kacci-gala, Vaṭṭak-kacci, Veḍi-kacciya/ Veḍḍi-kacci

Kacca+tīvu
Kaccāy/ Kacca+āy
Kacci+gala
Vaṭṭai+kacci
Veḍi+kacciya/ Veḍḍi-kacci


The island in the direction of the west wind; or the island in the west; or the jungle island

The coastal point or the jungle expanse

The jungle hill

The jungle having a paddy field enclosure

The jungle for shooting (hunting)/ The jungle for hunting or the jungle of hunters


Kacca (adjective) as in Kacca-tīvu: 1. The explanation heard in the close-by island Delft is Kaccāṉ-tīvu; from Kaccāṉ: west wind, west (Tamil, DED 1094, MTL cites Jaffna diction and nautical usage); longshore wind blowing in January and February from North-Northwest (Malayalam, DED 1094); Kaccāṉ-kōṭai: southwest wind (Tamil, MTL); Vāṭaik-kaccāṉ: wind from northwest (Tamil, Arunachalam, B., 1985); Cōḻak-kaccāṉ: wind from southwest (Tamil, Arunachalam, B., 1985); 2. Probably related to Kacci meaning jungle, low-jungle or thicket; see box on Kacci; also see another place name Kaccap-pāy in Jaffna
Kacci no dictionary entry of toponymic relevance in Tamil or Sinhala, but deduced from usage examples the word seems to be meaning a jungle; probably related to Kaṭci: forest, jungle, sleeping place for animals in a forest, refuge, bird's nest (Tamil, MTL, Caṅkam diction, Aiṅkuṟunūṟu, 250; Puṟanāṉūṟu, 202: 1-2; 157: 9-10; Kuṟuntokai, 160: 1-4); sleeping place for people, camp (Tamil, Cūṭāmaṇi, 5: 58; Cilappatikāram 12: concluding stanza); Kakṣa: lurking place, hiding place, a wood, large wood, a dry wood, underwood, an inner recess, the interior of a forest, (Sanskrit, Monier-Williams); Kaccha: forest of dry leaves (Prakrit, CDIAL 2589); Kẹsa: thicket (Sinhala, Clough); "Viyalivanaya" (Sinhala, Sorata)
Kaccāy 1. Probably from Kaccāyam: a coastal point (Tamil, Kathiraiverpillai, MTL appendix cites Jaffna Dictionary); Kaccāy was a port in the past, now a fishing hamlet; 2. Kacca+āy: jungle expanse; see box on Kacci and column 80
Vaṭṭa from Vaṭṭai: a paddy field created by enclosing an area in a jungle (Eezham Tamil). See columns 250, 153, 49
Veḍi as in Veḍi-kacciya; 1. explosion, gunfire, gun (Sinhala; Veṭi: Tamil, DED 5473); 2. Changed form of Veḍḍi: as Veḍḍi-kacci is the spelling seen in old survey maps; probably related to Vēṭṭai, Vēṭu: hunting (Tamil, DED 5527). See columns 006 and 389
Gala stone, rock, rocky hill, hill (Sinhala; Kal: Tamil, DED 1298). See column 046
Tīvu island (Tamil). See columns 032, 134


In the case of Kacca-tīvu, the explanation heard in the neighbouring Neṭun-tīvu (Delft) is that the uninhabited island has got the name because of its location in the Kaccāṉ wind direction.

Kaccāṉ, in Jaffna usage, is a wind coming from the West and in Malayalam it means a long-shore wind coming from North-Northwest. There are varieties of Kaccāṉ, meaning wind directions ranging from Northwest to Southwest (see box). There is a probability that the wind name is connected to the ancient port of Cutch in Gujarat.

The place name Kaccāy is a single toponymic example. Kathiraiverpillai's dictionary coming from Jaffna has an entry that Kaccāyam means a coastal point. Since Kaccāy is a port, the meaning could be appropriate. But the etymology couldn't be ascertained.

Kacci is a component found in some Eezham Tamil and Sinhala place names. No entry of toponymic relevance is seen for this word either in Tamil or in Sinhala dictionaries. A jungle seems to be the meaning deducible from the toponymic usage examples. If so, the closest cognate of Kacci in word-form and meaning is Kaṭci of Caṅkam Tamil usage, meaning a jungle. The etymology is uncertain.

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Kaṭci as forest:

"மணி வரைக் கட்சி மட மயில் ஆலும்" (ஐங்குறுநூறு, 250)

"Maṇi varaik kaṭci maṭa mayil ālum" (Aiṅkuṟunūṟu, 250)

The forest of the blue mountain where young peacocks dance


Kaṭci as refuge in a forest:

"வெட்சிக் கானத்து வேட்டுவர் ஆட்டக் கட்சிக் காணாக் கடமா நல் ஏறு" (புறநானூறு, 202: 1-2)

"Veṭcik kāṉattu vēṭṭuvar āṭṭak kaṭcik kāṇāk kaṭamā nal ēṟu" (Puṟanāṉūṟu, 202: 1-2)

The stag that doesn't find its refuge when the hunters chase it in the forest on a seizing operation


Kaṭci as sleeping place of forest animals:

"எல் படு பொழுதின் இனந்தலைமயங்கிக் கட்சி காணாக் கட மான் நல் ஏறு" (புறநானூறு, 157: 9-10)

"El paṭu poḻutiṉ iṉantalaimayaṅkik kaṭci kāṇāk kaṭa māṉ nal ēṟu" (Puṟanāṉūṟu, 157: 9-10)

The stag that doesn't find the sleeping place, as it is lost from its herd at the sunset time


Kaṭci as nest of birds:

"அன்றில்…பெடையொடு…ஓங்கு சினைக் கட்சியில் பிரிந்தோர் கையற நரலும் நள்ளென் யாமத்து" (குறுந்தொகை, 160: 1-4)

"Aṉṟil…peṭaiyoṭu…ōṅku ciṉaik kaṭciyil pirintōr kaiyaṟa naralum naḷḷeṉ yāmattu" (Kuṟuntokai, 160: 1-4)

The middle of the night, when the Aṉṟil bird and its female (the Indian nightingale which is never separated from its mate), perched in their nest in the high branches of the tree, coo to the helpless dismay of a separated lover


Kaṭci as sleeping place for people:

"Chaddakam paayal pa'l'li..kadchiyea..manithar paalaam" (Choodaama'ni Nika'ndu 5:58)

"சட்டகம் பாயல் பள்ளி…கட்சியே…மனிதர் பாலாம்" (சூடாமணி நிகண்டு, 5: 58)

Caṭṭakam, pāyal, paḷḷi, kaṭchi etc. mean (sleeping place) for humans


Kaṭci as encampment of a side in a battlefield:

"பிறர் நாட்டுக் கட்சியும் கரந்தையும் பாழ்பட" (சிலப்பதிகாரம், 12)

"Piṟar nāṭṭuk kaṭciyum karantaiyum pāḻpaṭa" (Cilappatikāram, 12: concluding stanza)

Ruining the battlefield camps and the retrieving mission of the country of others

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Kacca-tīvu is a small island in the Palk Bay, located between Neṭun-tīvu (Delft) off Jaffna and Rāmēsvaram in Tamil Nadu. It is in the southwest direction from Neṭun-tīvu. Made of limestone and coral rocks and deprived of potable groundwater, the island is scrub jungle on one side and grassland in the middle.

Kaccāy is in Thenmaradchi division of Jaffna district. It was once a port of the Jaffna Lagoon, linking Cāvakac-cēri in Jaffna Peninsula and Pūnakari in the main island.

Kacci-gala is a place bordering Hambantota and Ratnapura districts. The forested rocky hillock that has given the name to the place is on the side of Angunakolapelessa division of Hambantota district, while the tank and village of the place are on the side of Ratnapura district (Metric Sheet)

Vaṭṭak-kacci is in Karaichchi division of Kilinochchi district.

Veḍi-kacciya or Veḍḍi-kacci is a place in Medigiriya division of Polonnaruwa district. Veḍi-kacciya is the spelling coming in the current official records. The place is marked as Veddi-kacci in Kaudulla OIS. This is also the name of the forest of that place. There is a probability of the place name having connections with aborigine hunters, who were once the inhabitants of this tract

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Some related place names:

Baṭu-kacciya: Kantalāy, Trincomalee. Baṭu: wild eggplant; Baṭa: a kind of bamboo

Koṭu-kacciya: Anaimadu, Puttalam. Koṭu: to axe as to cut a tree, to hoe as to cultivate. See column 21

Kacca-kaḍuva: Madampe, Puttalam. Kaduva: forest; Kacca may mean the type of the forest (like a thicket) in this case

Kaccirāva: Nattandiya, Puttalam. Kacca+irāva or Kacci+irāva. Ira: a revenue division (see Sorata, Appendix; Iṟai: Tamil)

Vaḍḍa-kacci-vẹva: a tank located south of the modern settlement Agbopura, Medirigiriya, Polonnaruwa (Kaudulla OIS). The place is marked within a forest area designated as Vedda-kacciya (Kaudulla OIS)

Koṭṭāṅ-kacci: Eravurpattu, Batticaloa. See Koṭu-kacciya

Kaccār-veḷi: Pachchilaippalli, Kilinochchi. There may be a different meaning related to the adjacent place Mācār

Iyak-kacci: Pachchilaippalli, Kilinochchi. Iyā: a thorny shrub

Kaccap-pāy: a locality in Cutumalai, Valikamam Southwest, Jaffna, (Balasundaram, p. 211). Pāy: expanse

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Kachchatheevu Map
Satellite image showing the location of Kachchatheevu [Image courtesy: NASA, Visible Earth, Legend by TamilNet]


Indo-Lanka boundary in Historic Waters
Maritime boundary in the Historical Waters of the Palk Bay between India and Sri Lanka. [Courtesy: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, 1975]


SL-India maritime borders
SL-India maritime borders
Explanation to the coordinates of the maritime boundary shown in the map [courtesy: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research]
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Revised: Saturday, 22 April 2017, 18:30

First published: Wednesday, 04 July 2007, 01:00

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