Change in Word Meanings
jaybee at tm.net.my
Sun Apr 20 09:27:22 UTC 1997
GANESANS at cl.uh.edu wrote:
> Change in Word Meanings
> Some tamil words have acquired almost opposite meanings
> over time. Examples:
> 1) n^ARRam - originally good smell, but now it signifies bad odour.
> When Andal sings "karuppUram n^ARumO? kamalappU n^ARumO?",
> the pleasant smell of lotus, camphor are referred.
> 2) mANTa - originally lofty (related to mANpu),
> but now it is "dead/destroyed"
> "maaNTa en manaiviyoTu" - puRam song by picirAnthaiyAr.
> "uram mANTa thamizhar" - has double meanings.
> 3) kuppai - Originally, it seems to mean "heap/kuviyal" only.
> There is a village by name, neRkuppai (heaps of paddy).
> But now it means dirt/garbage.
> 4) iRantha - originally, crossing, ending etc.,
> In sangam poetry, "neTunjcuram iRanthAn" meant
> crossing a large tract of wasteland.
> 5) kazhakam - originally, a gambling place.
> Now, thamizhk kazhakam - tamil society etc.,
> Can you please add some more Tamil words like this?
> Any examples from Sanskrit?
> N. Ganesan
Dear Sir ,
Quite a number of words have changed their
meanings in the course of time.Allow me add on.
attavaNai - In the epigrahical parlance, it originally meant
a royal diary. It contained all the things that the king
had to do in a day and his appointments. The officer in
charge of preparing the diary and reminding the king was
also known as the "attavaNai".
Later it meant a "list"
Now its scope has further narrowed down to mean " a list
of contents of a book.
vetti vElai - It now means useless, unproductive work.
Its earlier meaning was "voluntary work". As such all
social service would fall into the category of "vetti
vElai".No salary, no wages,nothing. The "vetti vElai
kkAran'" had to bring his own equipment.
sillaRai - This is a compound word.... sil+ iRai. In the medieval
times, numerous taxes were imposed upon the people. Some
taxes were miscellaneous and sundry. They had to paid in
coins of the smallest denominations. in ude course, the
word became a single word - "sillaRai". The tax part of it
passed into oblivion. It just came to mean, coins of small
denomination or small change.
amar kaLam - This was the battle field. Now is different. In a
kachchEri, a sangItha vidhvAn ," amarkkaLamAga ppAduthal"
means singing with gusto.
pilzhaiththal - Now we use it to mean escaping from death, or
recovering from a dangeros illness. It meant, "wrong
doing", or lapse, mistake etc.
Appar"s Kanchi Thiruppadhigam - "nin paNi pilzhaikkil,
puLiyam vaLArAl mOdhuvippAy, ugappAy, munivAy, kachchi
madaiyan - was originally a cook! Not a fool.
algul - means the female genitalia. But also meant the "Groin".
Thiru vOththUr thiruppadhigam of Sambandhar-
"koLvIr algul Or kOvaNam"
pasu - Was used to mean the whole bovine species in general.
kOLaRu thiruppadhigam - Sambandhar
"pala pala vEdamAgum para nAri bAgan
pasu vErum engaL paraman"
Now, only the female of the species -pasu
kOlzhi - Stood for the domestic fowl in general. The male was known as
Incidentally, the word "cheval" used to mean tha male
member of any bird. Now , only the cockeral is addressed
vimAnam _ This stood for the Garbha Griha and the super structure above
it. later it meant yhe superstructure alone.
Mow, vimAnam has disappeared to give way to the
Arya - had a different meaning. Now we think of the
" Der Fuehrer" took it to new heights.
annam - meant any food. Now stands for cooked rice.
summA - Just to type out what it really means is going to take two more
days. It is NOT - repeat - NOT what it means.
aRuvai - In tha Sangam, it meant "cloth"
kULam - "Cereals. Madurai kkULa vAniganAr"
vetti vElai -
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