Know the Etymology: 234
Place Name of the Day: Tuesday, 25 December 2012


கடே3 வீதி3
kaḍē vīdiya


The bazaar street
The street of shops

Kadea(singular); Kada (plural): Market place, bazaar (Sinhala); Kadai: Shop, bazaar, market (Tamil, DED 1142); Kata: Market (Malayalam, DED 1142); Kade: Shop (Malay); Related in etymology to Kada: (verb) To pass through (Tamil, DED 1109), Kadai: Entrance, gate, place (Tamil, DED 1109) or Kada: (verb) > Kadavu: To dispatch, discharge; Kadaavu: to urge (Tamil, DED 1109); or Kaddai: Anything constructed, open platform, a raised platform or a public place built under a tree facing the village green (Tamil, DED). Also see column on Vaahal-kada
WeediyaRoad, street (Sinhala); Veethi: Street, road, row, line, terrace in front of a house, stall, shop (Sinhala); Street, track (Pali/ Prakrits); Row, line, road, way, race-course, market, stall, shop, division of the planetary sphere, terrace in front of a house (Sanskrit); Veethi: Street (Tamil, Chilappathikaaram, 6:129); circumambulatory passage inside or outside of a temple (Tamil)

Kadai, meaning a shop or a market place, is a word of popular usage in Tamil. The cognates Kata in Malayalam and Kade in Sinhala and Malay are also equally popular in those languages, meaning the same.

The word Kadai of Dravidian etymology (DED 1142), in the sense of a shop or market place, probably acquired the shade of meaning from the original meaning, gate or entrance, coming from the verb root Kada, meaning to pass through.

The word Kadai as a noun and verb and its root Kada have several other shades of meaning too in Tamil. Some relevant ones are: place, dispatch, discharge and urge (see table). An alternative possibility for Kadai gaining the meaning shop is that it is related to Kaddai, another word of Dravidian etymology, meaning a constructed place or an open platform at a public place.

However, early usages of the word Kadai in Tamil, in the sense of meaning a shop, show that the usage is related to the meaning entrance or gate. A built place, selling commodities at its doorway became a Kadai.

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Kadai meaning entrance/ gate:

“Aasu il theruvin naayil viyan kadai..
..oar il pichchai” (Ku’runthokai 277: 1-3)

“ஆசு இல் தெருவின் நாயில் வியன் கடை..
..ஓர் இல் பிச்சை” (குறுந்தொகை 277: 1-3)

(Let you get) your alms of food in one house itself, in an unblemished street and at a house gate where there is no dog

Kadai meaning shop:

“Kaazh chaayththu nodai navil nedung kadai adaiththu” (Mathuraikkaagnchi: 621-2)

“காழ் சாய்த்து நொடை நவில் நெடுங் கடை அடைத்து”
(மதுரைக்காஞ்சி: 621-2)

Lowering the bolt-bar and closing the price-telling tall door (shop).

The reference explains how a shop gained the term Kadai, deriving from the meaning door/ gate/ entrance for the word

“Koolam, angkaadi, kadai aakak koo’ruvar; aava’nam niyamam aakalum uriththea”
(Thivaakara Nika’ndu 5:131-2)

“கூலம், அங்காடி, கடை ஆகக் கூறுவர்; ஆவணம் நியமம் ஆகலும் உரித்தே”
(திவாகர நிகண்டு 5:131-2)

Koolam and Angkaadi are synonyms of Kadai. Aava’nam and Niyamam are also the other words referring to it.

Kadai meaning place/ side:

Pulam kadai (Aka:naanoo’ru 31:2)

புலம் கடை (அகநானூறு 31:2)

The paddy-field place/ side

Kadai-i as verb meaning asking/ seeking

“Koozhum choa’rum kadai-i” (Pu’ra:naanoo’ru 160:20)

“கூழும் சோறும் கடைஇ” (புறநானூறு 160:20)

Seeking porridge and rice

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Veethi in Tamil and Sinhala, meaning a street, is a word of Indo-Aryan etymology corresponding to the same word in Sanskrit and Prakrits.

Weediya is another form of the word in Sinhala.

Early usage of the word in Tamil could be found in Chilappathikaaram and Ma’nimeakalai

“Nakara veethi naduva’n poaki” (Chilappathikaaram 6:129)

“நகர வீதி நடுவண் போகி” (சிலப்பதிகாரம் 6:129)

Going to the centre of the city street

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Kade-weediya is a place in Matara Four Gravets division, Matara district. There is another place spelt as Kada-weediya at Thirappane in Anuradhapura district. This is called Thirappane Kadaweediya.

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Some related place names:


Aluth-kade: The new bazaar; Colombo division, Colombo district

Kochchi-kade: The bazaar of merchants from Cochin; Colombo division, Colombo district

Parana-kade: The old bazaar; Beruwala division, Kalutara district

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Periya-kadai: The grand bazaar; Jaffna city, Jaffna district; Trincomalee city, Trincomalee district; Mannaar Town, Mannaar district

Chinnak-kadai: The little bazaar; Jaffna city, Jaffna district; Trincomalee Town, Trincomalee district; Mannaar Town, Mannaar district

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Masangas-weediya: The street of Zizypus jujuba trees; Colombo division, Colombo district

Wælla-weediya: The beach road; Negombo division, Negombo district

Weediya-watta: The grove by the street; Minuwangoda division, Gampaha district

Aluth-weediya: The new street; Weligama division, Matara district

Hetti-weediya: The merchant community’s street; Weligama division, Matara district

Mahaa-weediya: The main-street; Weligama division, Matara district

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Thearoadum Veethi: The locality of the outer circum-ambulatory road of the temple that is used by the temple chariot; Karaithu’raippattu division, Mullaiththeevu district

Vinaayakar-veethi: The locality of the Vinaayakar temple road; Thu’nukkaay division, Mullaiththeevu district

Pathu’lai-veethi: The locality of the road towards Badulla; Ea’raavoorpattu division, Batticaloa district

Musleem-veethi: The road of the Muslim enclave; Karaithu’raippattu division, Mullaiththeevu district

Sahaaya-veethi: The road of the Sahaaya Maathaa (St. Mary) church; Maanthai West division, Mannaar district

First published: Tuesday, 25 December 2012, 14:44

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