Know the Etymology: 109
Place Name of the Day: Sunday, 05 March 2017


Nā-ula. Nikula, Uḷu-piṭiya, Uḷuk-kuḷam, Uḍa-iḷuka

நா-உல, நி[க்]குல, உளுப்பி[ட்]டிய, உளுக்குளம், உட₃-இளு[க்]க
Nā-ula. Nikula, Uḷu-piṭiya, Uḷuk-kuḷam, Uḍa-iḷuka

Nā+ula
Nika+ula
Uḷu+piṭiya
Uḷuk+kuḷam
Uḍa+iḷuka


The Nā-tree forest

The Nika-shrub thicket

The jungle plain

The tank in the forest

The upper forest


Ula suffix-form variation of Ulu: see box on Ulu
Ulu forest, jungle, thicket; "Vanaya, Lẹhẹba" (Sinhala, Sorata); Sorata cites the examples, Nā-ulu, Daṁbulu, Giri-ulu and Badulu; Ulavai: grove (Tamil, DED 997); dense growth of trees (Tamil, Piṅkalam, 9: 207); branch of a tree, green twig with leaves upon it (Tamil, Caṇkam diction, DED 997); Oli: (verb) to shoot forth (Tamil, DED 997); Oluva, Oḷuva: components meaning jungle or thicket in Sinhala place names, as in Hal-oluva, Kuṁbal-oluva, Ril-oluva etc. See column 284
Uḷu see box on Ulu
Iḷu forest, "Vanaya" (Sinhala, Sorata); forest, congregation, multitude (Sinhala, Clough); Iḷai: forest meant for the protection of a fort (Tamil, Cilappatikāram, 14: 62; Tivākaram, 4: 89); Iṟumpu: thicket, shrub, bush, (Tamil, DED 524); Iṟuku: (verb) to be closely confined; (noun) thicket (Kannada, DED 524); Iṟu: state of being tight or close (Kannada, DED 524); Iṟuvu: a throng, crowd, large number (Kannada, DED 524); Iluk, Iḷuk, Ilup, Iḷup: a densely growing reed, Imperata, arundinacea, saccharum cylindricum (Sinhala, Sorata, Clough). See column 322


Ulu in Sinhala means a forest or thicket. Nā-ulu (the Nā tree forest) is one of the examples cited by Sorata in giving the meanings to Ulu.

The closest cognate that could be cited for the Sinhala word is Ulavai in old Tamil, meaning a grove and dense growth of trees. Listing Ulavai as Dravidian, DED traces the root to the old Tamil verb Oli, meaning to shoot forth (DED 997).

There are also the Sinhala place name components Oluva and Oḷuva, for which the deducible meaning is forest, but this meaning has no dictionary entries. Hal-oluva, Ril-oluva, Rambuk-oluva, Kuṁbal-oḷuva etc. are some examples. See column 284. There is a strong probability that in toponymic context Oluva/ Oḷuva is a variation of Ulu.

* * *


Ulavai meaning dense growth of trees:

"பொதும்பர் கோடரம் உலவை மரச்செறிவே" (பிங்கலம், 9: 207)

"Potumpar kōṭaram ulavai maraccceṟivē" (Piṅkalam, 9: 207)

Potumpar, Kōṭaram and Ulavai means dense growth of trees

* * *


Iḷu is another Sinhala term meaning a forest. It also means a multitude. There is a cognate Iḷai in old Tamil meaning a forest protecting a fort. But more appropriate cognates that explain the etymology with verb forms seem to be Iṟumpu in old Tamil meaning a forest, low forest, thicket bush etc., and Iṟuku in Kannada, which as a noun means a thicket and as a verb means to be closely confined (DED 524, Ṟ/ Ḷ interchange)

Iḷu in Sinhala meaning a forest is comparable to another Sinhala word Iḷuk that means a densely growing reed. The etymology may be related. See column 322.

* * *


Iṟumpu meaning forest, thicket, bush etc:

"மரம் பயில் இறும்பு" (குறுந்தொகை)

"Maram payil iṟumpu" (Kuṟuntokai, 155: 4-5)

The jungle of densely grown trees


"இறும்பே மிடை தூறு" (திவாகரம், 4: 91)

"Iṟumpē miṭai tūṟu" (Tivākaram, 4: 91)

Iṟumpu means bush and thicket

* * *


Nā-ula is a place in the division of its own name in Matale district.

Nikula is in Naula division of Matale district.

Uḷu-piṭiya is a place in Imbulpe division of Ratnapura district.

Uḷuk-kuḷam is in Vavuniya South division of Vavuniya district.

Uḍa-iḷuka is in Udadumbara division of Kandy district.

* * *


Some related place names: (Some of them may not be related to the forest meaning)

Ulu, Ula, Uḷu:

Daṁbulu-gama: Dambulla, Matale. Daṁba-ulu

Daṁbulu Halmilla-vẹva: Palagala, Anuradhapura. Halmilla-vẹva in Dambulu

Uḷuk-kuḷama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura

Ula-panē: GI Korale, Kandy

Ẹrẹvula: Daṁbulla, Matale

Diṁbula: Nuwara Eliya, Nuwara Eliya. Diṁbul-ula

Hulaňdāva: Akuressa, Matara

Ula-hiṭiyāva: Katuwana, Hambantota

Uḷu-viṭike: Pope-Poddala, Galle

Nākuḷu-gamuva: Beliatta, Hambantota

Hulu-galla: Nikaweratiya, Kurunegala

Huṁbuḷuva: Alawwa, Kurunegala

Kandulu-gamuva: Galnewa, Anuradhapura

Kavuḍulu-vẹva: Medirigiriya, Polonnaruwa

Uḷu-gala: Uva Paranagama, Badulla; Buttala, Moneragala

Dambuḷu-vana: Elapatha, Ratnapura

Nāṁbuḷuva: Kahavatta, Ratnapura. Nāṁba+uḷuva; Nā+ṁba affix?

Aṁbuḷu-gala: Mawanella, Kegalle. Aṃba+uḷu

Duṁbuḷuvāva: Mawanella, Kegalle. Duṁbul: 1. = Diṁbul; 2. Aṭṭikkā (Sorata)

* * *


Iḷu:

Iḷuṁba-kanda: Kalawana, Ratnapura. Iḷuṁba: Iḷu+ṁba (affix); Kanda: hill

Nihiḷuva: ? Beliatta, Hambantota

Some related place names: (Some of them may not be related to the forest meaning)


Ulu, Ula, Uḷu:

Daṁbulu-gama: Dambulla, Matale. Daṁba-ulu

Daṁbulu Halmilla-vẹva: Palagala, Anuradhapura. Halmilla-vẹva in Dambulu

Uḷuk-kuḷama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura

Ula-panē: GI Korale, Kandy

Ẹrẹvula: Daṁbulla, Matale

Diṁbula: Nuwara Eliya, Nuwara Eliya. Diṁbul-ula

Hulaňdāva: Akuressa, Matara

Ula-hiṭiyāva: Katuwana, Hambantota

Uḷu-viṭike: Pope-Poddala, Galle

Nākuḷu-gamuva: Beliatta, Hambantota

Hulu-galla: Nikaweratiya, Kurunegala

Huṁbuḷuva: Alawwa, Kurunegala

Kandulu-gamuva: Galnewa, Anuradhapura

Kavuḍulu-vẹva: Medirigiriya, Polonnaruwa

Uḷu-gala: Uva Paranagama, Badulla; Buttala, Moneragala

Dambuḷu-vana: Elapatha, Ratnapura

Nāṁbuḷuva: Kahavatta, Ratnapura. Nāṁbu+uḷuva: a young forest or a forest that is not matured; Nāṁbu:young, not full-grown (Sinhala, Sorata, Clough); Nāmbā: young bull (Clough); Nāmpaṉ: bull calf (Eezham Tamil, MTL cites Jaffna Dictionary); 1. Nāmpu: (verb) to become thin; (noun) anything lean (Tamil, DED 3648); 2. Nāmpu: a sprout (Malayalam, DED 3649); Nampu: shoot, sprout, the scion of a family (Malayalam, DED 3649); 3. Nampi: youth (Tamil, Cilappatikāram, 14: 100); a term of endearment, juniors (related to DED 3085). Note Sinhala place names, Naṁbā-daḷuva, Naṁba-pāna, Nāṁbara-atta and Nāṁburu-kanda

Aṁbuḷu-gala: Mawanella, Kegalle. Aṃba+uḷu

Duṁbuḷuvāva: Mawanella, Kegalle. Duṁbul: 1. = Diṁbul; 2. Aṭṭikkā (Sorata)

* * *


Iḷu:

Iḷuṁba-kanda: Kalawana, Ratnapura. Iḷuṁba: Iḷu+ṁba (affix); Kanda: hill

Nihiḷuva: ? Beliatta, Hambantota


Revised: Sunday, 05 March 2017, 21:09

First published: Thursday, 28 August 2008, 08:08

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