Know the Etymology: 80
Place Name of the Day: Thursday, 10 August 2017


Nelliyāy, Tūṇṭāy

நெல்லியாய், தூண்டாய்
Nelliyāy, Tūṇṭāy

Nelli+āy
Tuṇṭi+āy


The expanse or field of Nelli trees

The expanse or field of the detached piece of land


Āy1 a suffix seen in some Eezham Tamil place names, probably meaning an expanse or field (Eezham Tamil place names); 1. Āyvu: width, breadth (Tamil, DED 366); Āyak-kaṭṭu: the entire extent of land irrigated by a tank, measurement of land determining the boundaries of a village (Tamil, DED 366); Āya: extent (Kannada, DED 366); proportion, measure (Tulu, DED 366); Āyatte: boundary, limit (Telugu, DED 366); 2. Āyatana: place, sphere (Pali, CDIAL 1285); resting place, home (Sanskrit, CDIAL 1285); root is traced to Yat, meaning to stretch (CDIAL 1285, Monier Williams); 3. Yāya: open champaign country (Sinhala, Clough); Yā: cultivation field, "Hēn kuṁburu ādi iḍampeḷa" (Sinhala, Sorata); Yā: (verb) as in Yātta, a surrounding place (Tamil, Caṅkam diction, Naṟṟiṇai, 342: 6-7); (verb) to bind, confine (Tamil, DED 5149); Y added or dropped is a linguistic feature. See another column on Yāya in Sinhala; 4. Pāy: (verb) to spread, extend; (noun) spreading extension (Tamil, DED 4088); Pā: expanse (Tamil, DED 4088); see column 67
Āy2 in some place names, Āy seems to be a changed form of another suffix, as in Paṟāḷai > Parāḷāy
Nelli emblic myrobalan, Phyllanthus emblica (Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Tulu, Telugu, Sinhala, DED 3755). See column 374 for Nelli-related place names
Tuṇṭi a detached piece of land (Tamil, DED 3310). See column 76


The suffix Āy seen in some Eezham Tamil place names seems to be meaning an expanse or a field. It may correspond to Yāya in Sinhala, meaning an open champaign country. See box on Āy on the etymological possibilities of the terms.

In some of the place names listed below, the Āy ending may be a changed form of some other suffixes. See related place names.

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Āyvu meaning width or breadth in Tamil:

"Akaṟal pāḻi āyvu parappu akaluḷ…eṉṟu ivai akalam eṉpar" (Tivākara Nikaṇṭu, 8: 35)

"அகறல் பாழி ஆய்வு பரப்பு அகலுள்…என்று இவை அகலம் என்பர்" (திவாகர நிகண்டு, 8: 35)

It is said that the words Akaṟal, Pāḻi, Āyvu, Parappu, Akaluḷ…mean width/ breadth

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Nelliyāy is a place located near Paḻai in Pachchilaippalli division of Kilinochchi district. It is noted as Neliyāyi in Vākkiya Almanac (2013-14, p. 104) and noted as Nelliya Kuḷam in Elephant Pass One-Inch-Sheet. The place is an open country with a small patch of paddy field

Tūṇṭāi is in Karaithuraippattu division of Mullaiththeevu district.

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Some related place names:

Mūḷāy: Valikamam West, Jaffna. The place is located in one corner of the Jaffna Peninsula. Mūḷa may be related to the location; Mūlai: corner (Tamil, DED 5044)

Kalluṇṭāy: an open alkaline plain of hard ground found with limestone outcrops and mounds along the lagoon coast, south of Vaḷukkiyāṟu estuary in Navāli, Valikamam Southwest, Jaffna; probably, Kal-kuṇṭu-āy > Kalluṇṭāy; either from the conspicuous stone-cum-earth mounds heaped here in the distant past when adjacent lands were converted into paddy fields, or from the sinkholes seen in the area; Kuṇṭu 1: mound, small hill (Tamil, DED 1682); Kuṇṭu 2: hollow, pond (Tamil, DED 1669)

Karaṇavāy: Vadamaradchi Southwest, Jaffna. The place is a center of a non-Brahmin priestly community that officiates certain rituals (Karaṇavāy Caivak Kurukkaḷ). The origin of the place name is traced to their identity called Karuṇīkar. They were Saiva-vēḷāḷa accountancy officials of Toṇṭai-nāṭu country, who were endowed with authority over a territory that is now called Karaṇavāy. They became priests later (Moothoothamy Pillay, 1915, p. 63; he says Karuṇīkar-vāyil has become Karaṇa-vāy). Kōyil Karaṇam: temple accountant (Tamil, inscription, 750 CE, EI, v. 8); Karaṇam: ritual (Tamil, inscription, 896 CE, SII, xiii, 312)

Vaḻalāy: Valikamam East, Jaffna. Vaḻalai: soap; Vaḻalai-uppu: a salt (Tamil, MTL); probably from getting fuller's earth used by washermen, the place has a temple for Periya Tampirāṉ, patronized by the community of washermen.

Tuṇukkāy: Thunukkai, Mullaiththeevu

Kūrāy: Manthai West, Mannar. The ruined tank at this place is called Kūrāyk- kuḷam (Mantai OIS)

Tikkāy: Vaṉṉērikkuḷam, Karaichchi, Kilinochchi (V. Almanac, 2013-14, p. 99). Probably related to Tikkam. Tikku-ellai and Tikku-aṭaippu are Eezham Tamil usages for a land, the boundaries of which are defined by title deeds. See column 245

Alvāy: Vadamaradchi Southwest, Jaffna. Alai-vāy: seafront; probably not related to Āy; see column 111

Kaccāy: Thenmaradchi, Jaffna. See column 22

Tiriyāy: Kuchchaveli, Trincomalee

Mēḷāy: Pūnakari-Nallūr, Poonakari, Kilinochchi (K. Almanac, p. 95)

Attāy: Alvāy South, Vadamaradchi Southwest, Jaffna; Pūnakari, Kilinochchi (K. Almanac, 2016-17, p. 92). See column 269

Tuḷāy: Tikkam, Vadamaradchi Northeast, Jaffna, (K. Almanac, 2016-17, p. 90). Tuḷa: inside; (adverb) within (Sinhala, Clough); "Abhyantaraya, Aturaṇalada" (Sinhala, Sorata); related to Atura, Atuḷa; see column 286

Paṟāḷāy: Valikamam West, Jaffna. Noted as Paṟālai in literature; probably not related to Āy suffix

Tirumaṅkalāy: near Kiḷiveṭṭi, Trincomalee; spelling from local usage; marked as Tirumaṅkala in Kathiraveli OIS. See column 92

Ālaṅ-kuḷāy: Caṇṭilippāy, Valikamam Southwest, Jaffna. Probably, Āl+am+kuḷam+āy; Ālaṅkuḷam: pond by the side of a banyan tree; the place has a pond (Kanagasabapathy, P., "Maram, Māntar, Mirukam," Toronto, 2012, p. 25)

Kokkuḷāy: also Kokkiḷāy: Karaithuraippattu, Mullaiththeevu

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The location of Moo'laay / Moozhaay


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Revised: Thursday, 10 August 2017, 18:30

First published: Monday, 18 February 2008, 05:16

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