Know the Etymology: 60
Place Name of the Day: Sunday, 25 June 2017


Kurakkaṉ-pulavuk-kuḷam

குரக்கன் புலவுக் குளம்
Kurakkaṉ-pulavuk-kuḷam

Kurakkan+pulavu+kuḷam
Taṇa+badda+gama


The tank of the finger-millet cultivation field

Kurakkaṉ finger millet, Eleusine coracana (Eezham Tamil, MTL, Winslow, Kathiraiverpillai); = Kurakkan: Eleusine coracana (Sinhala, Clough); "Enam kṣudra dhānyaya" (Sinhala, Sorata); = Kurahan: Eleusine coracana (Sinhala, Clough); = Kēḻ-varaku: Eleusine coracana meaning, the coloured Varaku (Tamil, MTL, Winslow, Kathiraiverpillai); = Irāki: Eleusine coracana (Tamil, DED 812, Rāgi in Malayalam, Kannada, Tulu and Telugu; related to millet names Iṟuṅku and Iṟaṭi, and probably to Iṟaku meaning feather, DED 525, 2591); = Nacciṇi: Eleusine coracana (Sinhala, Clough); = Nacciṉi: Eleusine coracana (Tamil, MTL, meaning the four-branched, Nāṟ-ciṉai; DED 3655+2592); Koṟṟā, Gorraṅ: Eleusine coracana (Gondi, DED 2163); Koṟṟalu: a millet, Panicum italicum (Telugu, DED 2163); Koṟale, Korle: Panicum italicum (Kannada, DED 2163); Kueri: Panicum italicum (Kui, DED 2163); Koralu, Koraḷu: an ear of corn (Tulu, DED 1775); Etymology 1: related to Kural: sheath of millet, ear of corn, spike, flower cluster, stalk, tresses of female hair, peacock's feather or plume, the millet Panicum italicam (Tamil, DED 1775, 2163, Kuṟuntokai, 105: 1-5; 138: 3; 337: 1-2; Puṟanāṉūṟu, 168: 6); ear of corn, paddy, "Karala" (Sinhala, Clough, Sorata); Kūr+al; Kūr: (verb) to be abundant; (noun) abundance (Tamil, DED 1899, Kuṟuntokai, 51: 1); (verb) to be sharp, to shoot up (Tamil, DED 1898, Puṟanāṉūṟu, 344: 5, note the term Kuruttu for sprout, shoot of grain etc., in Tamil and Kuru for bud or tender leaves in Sinhala); Kūr+akku+aṉ; Etymology 2: related to the reddish brown colour of the millet, Kuru: colour, bright colour (Tamil, DED 1782, note Kuruti for blood, reddish colour in Tamil and Guru for red chalk in Sinhala); Kurāl: reddish brown, tawny colour (Tamil, DED 1776); Kuru+akku+aṉ; Etymology 3: related to fine grains, Kuru: prickly heat; (verb) to break out as prickly heat (Tamil, DED 1780, note Kurulệva in Sinhala meaning pimple); seed, nut (Tamil, Malayalam, Kodagu DED 1781); Kuru+akku+aṉ; Akku: could be an empty morpheme (Cāriyai) coming in conjunctions, or may be related to Akki: grain that resembles rice (Kannada, DED 215); rice, corn (Tulu, DED 215); Aṉ: attributive suffix (Tamil, ETE 2003, 84). See columns 437, 249, 49 and 119
Pulavu cultivation field (Tamil, DED 4303). See column 249
Kuḷam pond, tank (Tamil, DED 1823). See column 18


Kurakkaṉ in Eezham Tamil and Kurakkan in Sinhala mean the finger millet, botanically called Eleusine coracana.

Closest cognates, Koṟṟā and Gorraṅ meaning the same millet, are seen in Gondi/ Dravidian, while the other cognates in Telugu, Kannada and Kui mean another millet, Panicum italicum (DED 2163).

See box for the etymological possibilities. All of them are listed as Dravidian and are shared by both Tamil and Sinhala. Among them, Kural meaning an ear of corn seems to be the most appropriate one. It also has a cognate in Tulu.

Nacciṉi, an obscure term for the finger millet, is also shared by Tamil and Sinhala. This seems to have come from the four branches of the cob of this millet (Nāṟ-ciṉai)

* * *


Kural meaning an ear of corn:

"உழாஅது வித்திய பரூஉக் குரல் சிறு தினை" (புறநானூறு, 168: 6)

"Uḻāatu vittiya parūuk kural ciṟu tiṉai" (Puṟanāṉūṟu, 168: 6)

The fine-grained Tiṉai crop (millet, Panicum italicum) growing with thick ears of corn, (even when) the land was not ploughed to sow


Kural meaning a reaped sheath of corn spikes:

"சிறு தினைக் கடி உண் கடவுட்கு இட்ட செழுங் குரல் அறியாது உண்ட மஞ்ஞை" (குறுந்தொகை, 105: 1-5)

"Ciṟu tiṉaik kaṭi uṇ kaṭavuṭku iṭṭa ceḻuṅ kural aṟiyātu uṇṭa maññai" (Kuṟuntokai, 105: 1-5)

The peacock that ate the fine Tiṉai millet from the reaped sheath of spikes, without realizing that it was placed as offering to the deity that partakes the first produce of the millet.

* * *


Kurakkaṉ-pulavuk-kuḷam is the name of a tank and place near Neṭuṅkēṇi in Vavuniya North division of Mullaiththeevu district (Mankulam MS)

* * *


Some related place names:

Kurakkaṉ-karai: Periya-kuḷam, Oddusuddan, Mullaiththeevu

Kurakkaṉ-piṭṭi: Vēlaṇai, Kayts, Jaffna (Balasundaram, p. 156)

Kura-vayal: Uṭaiyārkaṭṭu (V. Almanac, 2013-14, p, 106)

* * *



Revised: Sunday, 25 June 2017, 18:30

First published: Monday, 27 August 2007, 01:00

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