Know the Etymology: 216
Place Name of the Day: Thursday, 21 June 2012

Ampaara, Ampan, Ampanai

அம்பார, அம்பன், அம்பனை
Ampāra, Ampaṉ, Ampaṉai


The watercourse
The water source or watery area

Am also Aam: Water (Tamil, Changkam Diction, DED 187); Am: (verb root, onomatopoeia) To come out with water, expression of coming out with water, filling or over flowing as of water (Tamil, DED 187); Amizh, Amungku: (verb) To sink in water (Tamil, DED 167, 168, 169); Ampu, Ampam: Water (Tamil, old literary usages); Ampi: Small boat, raft, float, ship–that goes on water (Tamil, DED 177); Toddy (Tamil, Thivaakaram Lexicon 6:113); Ambi: Boat (Kannada, DED 177); Aampal: Water lily, toddy (Tamil, DED 362); Aamai: Turtle, tortoise (Tamil, DED 5155); Ampaa-aadal: Taking bath in pond, river etc., an auspicious bath observed by maidens in the month of Thai (January) in Changkam times and in Maarkazhi (December/ January) in later times (Tamil, Paripaadal: 11: 81-82); Ampaap-paaddu: Rower’s song, seine fishermen’s song (Tamil folklore); Ampap-paattu: Rower’s song (Malayalam, DED 177); Ampa’nam: Gutter for rain water (Tamil, Changkam diction); Amu: Water; Amsro: Waterish; Amye: To bathe; Amte: To bathe another (Malto, DED 187); Amm: Water; Emnaa: To take bath all over the body (Kurux DED 187); Ayam: Water, spring, tank, pond (Tamil, DED 188); Pool, tank (Malayalam, DED 188); Ammam: Mother’s milk (Tamil, old literary usages); Ambu: Water (Sanskrit/ Prakrits); Ama, Amba, Ambu, Ambus: Water (Sinhala); Amu’nu Bandinawaa: To construct a dam, to stop up a water course to irrigate the fields, (Sinhala)
Paara Way, road, path; blow, stroke; the further or opposite bank of a river; end, extremity, limit, boundary, time as in one time, once etc., (Sinhala); Varai, Varaippu, Varampu, Varappu: Limit, extent, place, time, boundary, brim, bank, shore, ridge of a field, causeway, way (Tamil, DED 5261); Bara, Bare, Barabu: Kannada and Tulu cognates of Varai/ Varappu in Tamil (DED 5261); Vari: Way, Path (Tamil, Thivaakaram Lexicon 5:224); Varich-chanthi: Crossroad (Tamil, Pingkalam Lexico, 4:197); Paaraga: Act of crossing, crossing over (Sinhala); Paaraapaaraa: Ocean, two banks of a river (Sinhala); Paaraawatee: River (Sinhala); Paara-ari’nawaa: To open or construct a road, to get out of the way (Sinhala); Pari: Path, way (Tulu, DED 3963); Parapuni: To flow as water (Tulu, DED 3963); Pari: (verb) To run, go out, escape, proceed; (noun) Motion, speed, rapidity, pace of a horse, a horse (Tamil, DED 3963); Parippu: Motion (Tamil, DED 3963); Pariyal: Going fast (Tamil, DED 3963); Pari: (verb) Go away; (noun) Moving, running, flowing, stream (Kannada, DED 3963); Parugu, Paruvu, Parvu: Running, a run (Telugu, DED 3963); Pari: To separate (Tamil DED 3962); Pa’ra: (verb) To fly; Pa’rappu: Flight, run (Tamil, DED 4020); Paa’ru: Ship, sailing ship (Tamil, DED 4120); Small boat, Catamaran (Malayalam, DED 4120); Taari: Way, road, path (Tamil, DED 3170); Aa’ru, Yaa’ru: River (Tamil, DED 5159); Way, path (Tamil, DED 405); Aaru, Taaru, Saaru, Haaru: River (Tulu, DED 5159)

Note the location of Am-paara (the course of water) at the course of the river Gal-oya/ Kal-aa'ru [Satellite image courtesy: Google Earth]

The words Am or Aam in old Tamil and Ama in Sinhala mean water.

Am, Aam, Ampu and Ampam are cognates in old Tamil meaning water, while the cognates in Sinhala are Ama, Amba, Ambu and Ambus.

The Sanskrit and Prakrit diction also has an equivalent cognate Ambu, meaning water. But the presence of the verb root and verb forms in Dravidian, and the wide prevalence of cognates in several Dravidian languages enlist the word as of Dravidian origin by the Dravidian Etymological Dictionary (entry no 187). See the table for the examples.

In old Tamil, Am as a verb and an onomatopoeia stands for the action of water appearing. The verbs Amizh and Amungku means immersing in water. The verb forms are also found in distant Dravidian languages such as Malto and Kurux.

The word Am/ Aam is not used in modern Tamil to mean water, but the verb forms Amizh, Amungku and Amukku are in common use. Some noun derivatives such as Aampal (water lily), Aamai (turtle/ tortoise), Ampaap-paaddu (rower’s song) etc., are also in common use. The word Ama is used only in literary Sinhala today.

The presence of the word in the Sinhala and Eezham Tamil place names, in the context of water, is another good example to understand the old Dravidian substratum in both the languages of the island.

See the following usage examples in old Tamil for the word Am/ Aam and its derivatives:

* * *

Aam meaning water:

“Veazham …madap pidi ulai pu’ram thaivara aam izhi chilampin arithu ka’n padukkum” (Ku’runthokai 308: 3-5)

“வேழம் …மடப் பிடி உலை புறம் தைவர ஆம் இழி சிலம்பின் அரிது கண் படுக்கும்” (குறுந்தொகை 308: 3-5)

The male elephant, patted on the back by its female, would sleep a while at the water-falling hill

Am meaning water:

“Am idaa ma’nat pi’rangkal” (Choo’laama’ni 791)

“அம் இடா மணற் பிறங்கல்” (சூளாமணி 791)

The sand dune from which water doesn’t flow (as it absorbs)

Am-ena, as verb/ onomatopoeia expressing the coming out of water:

“Ammenak ka’n’neer arumpi” (Paddinaththaar, 11 Thirumu’rai 3:10:16)

“அம்மெனக் கண்ணீர் அரும்பி” (பட்டினத்தார், 11 திருமுறை 3:10:16)

Tears appearing as ‘Am’

Ampu meaning water:

“Ampu ulaavum meenum aaki aamai aaki” (Thirumazhichaiyaazhvaar Chanthaviruththam 35)

“அம்பு உலாவும் மீனும் ஆகி ஆமை ஆகி” (திருமழிசையாழ்வார் சந்தவிருத்தம் 35)

Became a fish and became a turtle that go around in water (reference to the first two avataras of Vishnu)

Ampam meaning water/ tears:

“Kaathal cheypavar theerththidu uku ampamea” (Thirukkadaikkaappu 3:114:11)

“காதல் செய்பவர் தீர்த்திடு உகு அம்பமே” (திருக்கடைக்காப்பு 3:114:11)

The tears shed by those who love

Ampa’nam as gutter:

“Nilavup payan ko’l’lum neduve’n muttaththu kimpurip pakuvaay ampa’nam ni’raiyak kalizhnthu veezh aruvippaadu vi’ranthu” (Nedunalvaadai 96-97)

“நிலவுப் பயன் கொள்ளும் நெடுவெண் முற்றத்து கிம்புரிப் பகுவாய்
அம்பணம் நிறையக் கலிழ்ந்து வீழ் அருவிப்பாடு விறந்து” (நெடுநல்வாடை 96-97)

From the grand white terrace meant for enjoying moonlight, resembling the sound of a stream, rainwater would fall turbulently through the full gutter, the mouth of which is shaped like the gaping mouth of a shark.

Ampa’nam as aqueduct, gutter or narrow watercourse:

“Neerp paththarkku ampa’nam thoompu nearpa” (Thivaakaram Lexicon 7:207)

“நீர்ப் பத்தர்க்கு அம்பணம் தூம்பு நேர்ப” (திவாகரம் நிகண்டு 7:207)

Ampa’nam and Thoompu are words for aqueduct

Ampaa-aadal as taking bath in a pond etc:

“Ampaa aadalin aay thodik kanniyar munith thu’rai muthalviyar mu’raimai kaadda” (Paripaadal 11: 81-82)

“அம்பா ஆடலின் ஆய் தொடிக் கன்னியர் முனித் துறை முதல்வியர் முறைமை காட்ட” (பரிபாடல் 11: 81-82)

In taking the (ritual) bath, the maidens wearing select bangles are guided by veteran female ascetics

Ampi as ocean-going vessel:

“Peruvalai idikkurat pu’narip pauvaththu idumaar ni’raiyap peytha ampi” (Natti’nai 74: 2-3)

“பெருவலை இடிக்குரற் புணரிப் பௌவத்து இடுமார் நிறையப் பெய்த அம்பி” (நற்றிணை 74: 2-3)

The vessel with a heavy load in the meeting waters of a thundering ocean of huge waves

Ampi as raft:

“Aruku pathiyaaka ampiyil thaazhppikkum” (Paripaadal 6:75)

“அருகு பதியாக அம்பியில் தாழ்ப்பிக்கும்” (பரிபாடல் 6:75)

The place is nearby but the raft delayed you (in the Vaiyai river)

Ampi as ship:

“Adai karaikku a’niththaa ampi keduthalum” (Ma’nimeakalai 29: 7-9)

“அடை கரைக்கு அணித்தா அம்பி கெடுதலும்” (மணிமேகலை 29: 7-9)

The ship wrecked near the shore

Ammam as mother’s milk (probably from Ammaa–mother):

“Aayar ea’rea ammam u’n’nath thuyil ezhaayea (Periyaazhvaar 2:2:1)

“ஆயர் ஏறே அம்மம் உண்ணத் துயில் எழாயே (பெரியாழ்வார் 2:2:1)

Hero of the Aayar community (Ka’n’nan), wake-up to have mother’s milk

* * *

The word Paara in Sinhala commonly means a way, path or road. But it also means a blow, stroke; the further or opposite bank of a river; end, extremity, limit, boundary and time as in one time, once etc.

This word, in its shades of meaning, is not of Indo-Aryan etymology. The closest cognate, having identical shades of meaning is the Tamil root word Vara and its derivatives, Varai, Varambu etc., that are listed as Dravidian by Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, entry number 5261.

P/ V interchange is common in South Asian languages. See the table to note the Kannada and Tulu cognates spelt as Bara, Bare and Barabu.

Several other related words in Dravidian are also given in the table for comparison, but the Tamil word Varai/ Varambu and the Kannada/ Tulu cognates giving the meanings, way, causeway, limit, extent, place, time, boundary, brim, bank, shore and ridge of a field tally with almost all the shades of meaning of the Sinhala word Paara. (See table)

See the following examples of old usages in Tamil:

* * *

Varai as way, path:

“Kada varai kaathalanodu kadantha” (Paa’ndik koavai 222:1)

“கட வரை காதலனொடு கடந்த” (பாண்டிக் கோவை 222:1)

The hilly path passed along with her lover (in elopement)

Varai as limit:

“Imaippu varai amaiyaa nam vayin” (Ku’runthokai 218:6)

“இமைப்பு வரை அமையா நம் வயின்” (குறுந்தொகை 218:6)

We will not bear (the pain of separation) to the extent of a blink

Varai as time:

“Thu’nangkai naa’lum vanthana av varai…” (Ku’runthokai 364:6)

“துணங்கை நாளும் வந்தன அவ் வரை…” (குறுந்தொகை 364:6)

The day for Thu’nangkai (a dance in which men and women embrace) has come. At that time…”

Varai as bank:

“Poo malar pothu’liya punal varaich choalai” (Perungkathai 69:28)

“பூ மலர் பொதுளிய புனல் வரைச் சோலை” (பெருங்கதை 69:28)

The grove in the bank of the flowering pond

Varaippu as boundary:

“Kadi mathil varaippin oo’noor” (Akanaanoo’ru 227:18)

“கடி மதில் வரைப்பின் ஊணூர்” (அகநானூறு 227:18)

The village Oo’noor bound by secured walls

Varaithal as leaving/ leaving-out:

“Ma’nang kamazh maal varai varainthanar emarea” (Pu’ranaanoo’ru 151:1)

“மணங் கமழ் மால் வரை வரைந்தனர் எமரே” (புறநானூறு 151:1)

Our people leave-out (singing praise of your) fragrant great hill

* * *

Ampaara, as the place name indicates, is located at the course of the river Gal-oya/ Kal-aa’ru. It is a district headquarters in the Eastern Province.

Ampan is a place in the Vadamaraadchi East division of Jaffna district. There are many Sinhala place names having the component Amban. The singular masculine ‘An’ suffix, especially in inanimate contexts is peculiar to Eezham Tamil, as in other examples such as, Kaddu > Kadduvan (bund), Veddai > Vedduvaan (expanse), Mu’rippu > Mu’rippaan (dam); Kadavai > Kadanthaan (pass); Karampai > Karampan (barren land); Vi’laa > Vi’laan (place of wood apple trees), Oori > Ooriyan (shelly land), etc. Similarly Ampu becomes Ampan.

Ampanai is a locality in Thellippazhai of Valikaamam North division of Jaffna district. There is another Ampanai near Kantharoadai in Chunnaakam of Jaffna district. Both of them are located on the course of Vazhukki-aa’ru, the largest flood outlet of Jaffna.

Ampanai, Thellippazhai
Ampanai, Thellippazhai: The flood outlet that becomes Vazhukkiyaa'ru flows along the main road and turns south. The paddy fields are a water-logged area in the rainy season. The building seen in the image is Mahajana College at Ampanai, Thellippazhai. [Satellite image courtesy: Google Earth]

Some related place names:

Am/ Ang (Sinhala):

Am-pitiya: The watery highland or plain land; KFGG korale division, Kandy district

Am-bokka: The waterhole or the Sinkhole/ cavity having water; Pallepola division, Matale district

Am-bokku-dena: The place of waterhole or the place of a sinkhole/ cavity having water; Pallepola division, Matale district

Ambawa: The place of water; Hatharaliyadda division, Kandy district

Am-boruwa: Probably from Amboruwa’la: The watery pitfall; Hatharaliyadda division, Kandy district

Am-piti-thenna: The place of watery plain; Hidummulla division, Badulla district

Ang-gammana: The watery hamlet; Udapalaththa division, Kandy district; Ratnapura division, Rantnapura district

Ang-gamuwa: The watery village; Padukka division, Colombo district; Panduwasnuwara division, Kurunegala district; Rajanganaya division, Anuradhapura district

Ang-kumbura: The watery paddy fields; Poojapitiya division, Kandy district

* * *

Amu (Sinhala):

Amu-pitiya: The watery highland or plain land; Medadumbara division, Kandy district; Imbulpe division, Ratnapura district

Amuwath-deniya: The place of watery grove or garden; Harispattuwa division, Kandy district

Amu-hena: The watery slash-and-burn cultivation field; Udapalatha division, Kandy district

Amu-goda: The watery hill/ bank/ village; Elpitiya division, Galle district

Amu-kotuwa: The watery enclosure; Akmeemana division, Galle district

Amu-wathu-goda: The hill/ bank/ village of watery grove/ garden; Imbulpe division, Ratnapura district

Amu-wala: The watery forest; Elpatha division, Ratnapura district

* * *

Aman/ Amma (Sinhala):

Aman-doluwa: The stream or brook of water coming from the hill; Katana division, Gampaha district. Dola: Rill, small brook, streamlet, which has its source in a mountain; Dola-paara: Rill, small brook etc., proceeding from a hill (Sinhala); Doluwa itself is a place name found in Kandy and Kurunegala districts. Cognates for Dola, meaning stream, brook, drain, sewer, gutter etc., are found in several Dravidian languages other than Tamil (DED 3543)

Amma-duwa: The watery islet or the water-surronded and waterlogged locality; Weligepola division, Ratnapura district

* * *

Amba (Sinhala):

Amba-kote: The watery enclosure; Rideegama division, Kurunegala district

Amba-thalawa: The watery grassland; Kothale division, Nuwara Eliya district

Amba-liyadda: The watery division or bed of paddy fields; Walapone division, Nuwara Eliya district. Liyædda: Division or bed of a paddy field (Sinhala)

Amba-mal-thalawa: The watery grassland of flowers; Ampaa’rai division, Ampaa’rai district

Amba-gammana: The watery hamlet; Rasanayakapura division, Kurunegala district

Nillamba: The blue or dark water; Doluwa division, Kandy district

* * *

Amban (Sinhala):

Amban-wala: The watery jungle; Udunuwara division, Kandy district

Amban-vita: The watery hill; Gampaha division, Gampaha district

Amban-pola: The watery market place or the mango market; Ambanpola division, Kurunegala district; Ibbagamuwa division, Kurunegala district; Yatawatta division, Matale district

Amban-ganga: The river (bringing or full of) water; Thamankaduwa division Polonnaruwa district

Amban-pitiya: The watery highland or plains; Kegalle division, Kegalle district

Amban-ella: The waterfall/ rapid/ stream of (much) water; Walapane division, Nuwara Eliya district

* * *

Ambana (Sinhala):

Ambana: The watery place; Naula division, Kandy district; Elpitiya division, Galle district

Kola-ambana-gama: The watery village of a tank or the village of a species of mango called Kolombiya; Padiyathalawa division, Ampaa’rai district

* * *

Aam (Tamil):

Yaamaa: The water source; Oorezhu, Valikaamam East division, Jaffna district. The place has a perennial water source formed by a sinkhole. The water source is called by the name Yaamaa (Balasundaram p381). ‘Y’ coming in front of ‘A’ is a common feature in Tamil, as in examples: Aadu > Yaadu, Aa’ndu > Yaa’ndu, Aa’ru > Yaa’ru, Aamai > Yaamai etc.

* * *

Ampa, Ampi (Tamil):

Ampa-kaamam: The watery village; Oddusuddaan division, Mullaiththeevu district

Ampa-oodai: called as Ampavudai or Ampoadai: The water pond; Puththoor, Valikaamam East division, Jaffna district (Balasundaram p229)

Ampiyoadai: Ampi-oadai: The water pond; Koappaay, Valikaamam East, Jaffna district (Balasundaram, p252)

* * *

Ampan (Tamil):

Ampan: The watery place or the place of a source of water/ flood outlet; Vadamaraadchi East division, Jaffna district; There is another Ampan at Vi’laan in A’laveddi, Valikaamam North division, Jaffna district

Ampan-thoalai: The watery grove or the grove with a water source; Nalloor division, Jaffna district

Ampan-kadavai: The pass at a water source or the locality of a water source to pass through; Vadamaraadch North-East division, Jaffna district

Kari-ampan: The dark-water source; Ma’ndai-theevu East, Jaffna district (Balasundaram p155)

* * *

Ampanai (Tamil):

Ampanai: The watery place or the place of a water source; Thellippazhai, Valikaamam North, Jaffna district; Kantharoadai, Chunnaakam, Jaffna district. Both Ampanais are located in the course of the largest flood outlet in the Jaffna Peninsula.

Neelaampanai: Neela-ampanai: The locality of blue or dark water; or Neeli-ampanai: The abode of the deity Neeli, with a water source; Valikaamam North, Jaffna district. Compare the Sinhala place name Nillamba in Kandy district and Neela-madu in Puthukkudiyiruppu division, Mullaiththeevu district

Karukampanai: Probably, Karuku-ampanai: The place of dark water source or Karukkuppanai: The place of Karukkuppanai, a variety of palmyra palm that yields dark fruits. Compare the place name with Kari-ampan in Ma'ndai-theevu.

* * *


Athu-paara-yaaya: The expanse of the branching road; Dambulla division, Matale district

Eragama-paara: The Eragama road; Ampaa’rai division, Ampaarai district

Paara-waha-gama: The roadside village; Palagala division, Anuradhapura district

Paara-deka: The double road: Udapalatha division, Kandy district

First published: Thursday, 21 June 2012, 19:48

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