Know the Etymology: 64
Place Name of the Day: Saturday, 01 July 2017


Aḷa-veṭṭi, Kirā-veṭṭi, Kara-veṭṭi, Kaḷa-veṭṭit-tiṭal, Viḷā-veṭṭu, Maram-veṭṭic-cōlai, Veṭṭiṉa-vāykkāl

அளவெட்டி, கிராவெட்டி, கரவெட்டி, களவெட்டித்திடல், விளாவெட்டு, மரம்வெட்டிச்சோலை, வெட்டினவாய்க்கால்
Aḷa-veṭṭi, Kirā-veṭṭi, Kara-veṭṭi, Kaḷa-veṭṭit-tiṭal, Viḷā-veṭṭu, Maram-veṭṭic-cōlai, Veṭṭiṉa-vāykkāl

Aḷa+veṭṭi
Kirā+veṭṭi/ Kirā[y]+veṭṭi
Kara+veṭṭi/ Kara[i]+veṭṭi
Kaḷa+veṭṭi+tiṭal
Viḷā+veṭṭu
Maram+veṭṭi+cōlai
Veṭṭiṉa+vāykkāl


The muddy wasteland/ open plain; or the wasteland/ open plain of the canal

The hard-ground wasteland or open plain

The lagoon-side wasteland or open plain

The threshing-floor high ground (the waste high-ground plain attached to the paddy field tract)

The wasteland having wood apple trees

The forest to cut trees

The dugout canal


Veṭṭi1 vacant land, wasteland (Eezham Tamil place names); Veṭṭi-nilam: untilled land lying waste, "Taricu nilam" (Tamil, MTL); Veṭṭān-tarai: dry, hard ground without vegetation (Tamil, MTL cites Jaffna Dictionary); Veṭṭa-veḷi: vacuum, void (Tamil, MTL, Tirumūlar, 2591); Veṭṭi, Veṭṭai: uselessness, worthlessness (Tamil, DED 5477); Veṭṭai: emptiness (Tamil, MTL, Kathiraiverpillai); 1. Veṟu, Veṟṟu: empty (Tamil, DED 5513, Puṟanāṉūṟu, 261: 4; Kalittokai, 144: 46); Veṟi: (verb) to become empty as a place devoid of inhabitants, clear away s clouds (Tamil, DED 5513, cognates in 15 Dravidian languages); 2. Vaṭṭi: empty, vacant, void, vain, useless, bare (Telugu, DED 5233); empty (Naikri, DED 5513); Baṭṭi: bare ground (Parji, DED 5233); Baṭṭa: bareness, voidness (Kannada, DED 5233). See box on Veṭṭi 2. Also see columns 13 on Veḷi, 186 on Veṭṭai and 475 on Veṭṭuvāṉ/ Vaṭṭavāṉ
Veṭṭi2 open land (Eezham Tamil place names); variation of Veṭṭai: open land (Tamil, MTL, Kathiraiverpillai); Veḷi: (verb) to be open or public; (noun) open space, plain, space (Tamil, DED 5498); Veṭi: open plain (Tamil, Tivākaram, 11: 27; Piṅkalam, 1: 6); Veṭṭa-veḷi: open plain (Tamil, DED 5475); Veṭi: (verb) to dawn, break as day (Tamil, DED 5475); Veṭṭa: clear, plain (Tamil, DED 5475); Veṭṭam: light (Tamil, DED 5475); Veḷ: white, bright (Tamil, DED 5496a); Veḷi: (verb) to break as the day, clear (Tamil, DED 5496a). See box on Veṭṭi 2. Also see columns 13 on Veḷi, 186 on Veṭṭai and 475 on Veṭṭuvāṉ/ Vaṭṭavāṉ
Veṭṭi3 verb form of Veṭṭu: (verb) to cut as with sword or axe, dig as a well (Tamil, DED 5478). See column 498
Veṭṭi4 canal (Tamil, inscription, 1545 CE, EI, xxix, 9); from Veṭṭu: (verb) to dig as a well (Tamil, DED 5478). See Veṭṭi 3
Kaḷaveṭṭi threshing floor (Eezham Tamil, Vaṉṉi usage, also a customary usage to refer to the threshing floor during threshing, Mayilṅkūṭal P. Naṭarājaṉ); literally meaning the threshing-floor wasteland or open land; a waste and open high ground attached to a paddy field tract is usually reserved for threshing; Kaḷam: threshing floor (Tamil, DED 1376); Veṭṭi: wasteland, open land (see boxes, Veṭṭi 1 and Veṭṭi 2)
Veṭṭu shortened form of Veṭṭi or Veṭṭai. See boxes on Veṭṭi 1 and Veṭṭi 2; also see column 498 on another meaning of Veṭṭu related to Veṭṭi 3 and Veṭṭi 4
Aḷa1 probably related to Aḷai: mud (Tamil, Villi Pāratam, 22: 72); Aḷaṟu: mud, mire (Tamil, DED 2412, Akanāṉūṟu, 116: 3-4); Aḷḷal: mud, mire (Tamil, DED 2412, Kuṟuntokai, 103: 1); Aḷakkar: mud, mire (Tamil, DED 2412, Tivākaram, 5: 75); Aḷ: thickness, closeness (Tamil, DED 292, Kuṟuntokai, 219: 5-6)
Aḷa2 probably related to Aḷai: channel, canal, sub-canal etc. (Eezham Tamil, mostly used in Batticaloa, Kanthaiya, 1964). See columns 308 and 447
Kirā = Kirāy, Kiṟāy: hard clay ground, dark muddy ground, turf; "Vayira-nilam, Puṟ-karaṭu" (Tamil, MTL, Kathiraiverpillai, inscriptions). See column 99
Kara means lagoon-side in the context of the cited place name; shortened form of Karai: shore, bank, border, edge (Tamil, DED 1293); Kara: shore, riverside, land as opposed to sea (Malayalam, DED 1293); shore, bank (Telugu, DED 1293); sea, nearby, side-by; "Muhuda, Veta, Samīpaya" (Sinhala, Sorata); Karā: sea, seashore, nearby, side-by; "Muhuda, Muhuduverala, Veta, Samīpaya" (Sinhala, Sorata). See another column
Tiṭal a flat, raised ground (Tamil, DED 3221). See column 26
Viḷā wood apple (Tamil, DED 5509). See column 200
Maram tree, wood, timber (Tamil, DED 4711a, cognates in 20 Dravidian languages)
Cōlai grove, forest (Tamil, DED 2891). See column 54
Vāykkāl irrigation channel (Tamil, DED 1480; Vāy+kāl: DED 5352+1478). See column 218


When coming as a suffix, the component Veṭṭi, seen in Eezham Tamil place names means a wasteland, vacant land or an open plain. The geographical contexts of the relevant place names invariably attest to the meanings.

In these meanings the term either corresponds to Veṭṭi-nilam and Veṭṭān-tarai related to Veṟu, Veṭṭai and Vaṭṭi meaning empty in Dravidian, or corresponds to Veṭṭai and Veḷi meaning open plain. See boxes Veṭṭi 1 and Veṭṭi 2 for more on etymology and for cross-references on other related toponymic components.

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Veṭṭi in non-suffix positions corresponds to the verb Veṭṭu meaning to cut or dig. See box on Veṭṭi 3.

Coming from the verb Veṭṭu and seen in inscriptional usage, Veṭṭi as a noun may also mean a canal. See Veṭṭi 4.

On Veṭṭi 4 meaning a canal:

"உறையூர் வெட்டிக்கு கிழக்கு திருக்காவேரிக்கு தெற்கு" (Tamil inscription, 1545 CE, EI, xxix, 9)

"Uṟaiyūr veṭṭikku kiḻakku tirukkāvērikku teṟku" (Tamil inscription, 1545 CE, EI, xxix, 9)

East of the canal of Uṟaiyūr (a place) and south of the sacred Kāvēri (river)

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On Aḷḷal meaning mud: (for Aḷai meaning a canal see columns 308 and 447)

"கடும் புனல் தொகுத்த நடுங்கு அஞர் அள்ளல்" (குறுந்தொகை, 103: 1)

"Kaṭum puṉal tokutta naṭuṅku añar aḷḷal" (Kuṟuntokai, 103: 1)

The dreadful mud accumulated by the action of vast waters

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Aḷa-veṭṭi is a major village in Valikamam North division of Jaffna district. A large part of the place is muddy open plain through which Vaḻukkaiyāṟu, the major flood outlet of the peninsula flows. The muddy plain or waste plain has become a paddy field tract

Kirā-veṭṭi is a hard ground, now having some gardens on the eastern coast of Neṭuntīvu Island in Jaffna district (Delft OIS)

Kara-veṭṭi is found as a toponym in two places: in Vadamaradchi Southwest division of Jaffna district and in Manmunai West division of Batticaloa district. The southern part of the former place is an open land of paddy fields cum wasteland, bordering the Toṇṭaimāṉāṟu Lagoon. The latter, located near Viḷāvaṭṭavāṉ is an open wasteland plain, bordering the Batticaloa Lagoon.

Kaḷaveṭṭit-tiṭal is in Kandavalai division of Kilinochchi district. The place has a large paddy field tract

Viḷā-veṭṭu is a locality in Karaveṭṭi in Vadamaradchi Southwest division of Jaffna district (V. Almanac).

Maram-veṭṭic-cōlai is a place in Kuchchaveḷi division of Trincomalee district. In the past certain forests were reserved for the supply of timer as obligatory service (Rāja-kāriyam) to the Crown and later to the colonial rulers.

Veṭṭiṉa-vāykkāl is in Eravurpattu division of Batticaloa district

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Some related place names:

Kārai-veṭṭi-vempu: Iluppaik-kaṭavai, (Mantai OIS). Kārai: a thorny shrub commonly found in wastelands; Vempu: arid land

Pāṇā-veṭṭi: Tolpuram, Valikamam West, Jaffna. Pāṇar: a community, the settleme

Paṇṭi-veṭṭi: Poonakari, Kilinochchi. Paṇṭi: boar, pig

Kiḷi-veṭṭi: Moothoor, Trincomalee. Kiḷi: parrot

Val-veṭṭi: also Vallu-veṭṭi: Vadamaradchi Southwest, Jaffna. Val: jungle, thicket

Val-veṭṭit-tuṟai: Vadamaradchi Northeast, Jaffna

Kiṭā-veṭṭit-tōppu: Mannar Town, Mannar. 1. Kiṭā: buffalo, bull, ram (Tamil, DED 1123); kiṯāy: male of sheep (Tamil, DED 1123); male of goat (Tamil, Akanāṉūṟu, 156: 14); also Kaṭā: = Kiṯā; Kaṭa-mā: wild buffalo (Tamil, DED 1123, Kuṟuntokai, 179: 1-2); Kaṭam: forest (Tamil, DED 1438). Note the place name Kiṭāc-curi in column 152;

Kiṭā-veṭṭik-kaṇṭal: Aṭampaṉ, Mannar (Mantai OIS). See Kiṭā-veṭṭit-tōppu

Tēva-veṭṭi: Paḻaiya Māttalaṉ, (Elephan Pass OIS). Tēvaṉ: a title of Maṟavar or coastal chiefs. The place is a vacant coastal plain

Iṟampai-veṭṭik-kuḷam: (Vavuniya OIS). Iṟampai: a plant that grows in wet ground

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Revised: Saturday, 01 July 2017, 18:30

First published: Tuesday, 04 September 2007, 01:00

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