Know the Etymology: 74
Place Name of the Day: Sunday, 07 May 2017

Tōlaip-pāy, Nocci-ōlai, Ollai, Varaka-tolla, Āvaran-tulā, Kāñcūran-tulaval

தோலைப்பாய், நொச்சி ஓலை, ஒல்லை, வர[க்]கதொல்ல, ஆவரந்துலா, காஞ்சூரன்துலவல்
Tōlaip-pāy, Nocci-ōlai, Ollai, Varaka-tolla, Āvaran-tulā, Kāñcūran-tulaval


The grove expanse or the jungle expanse

The jungle or thicket of Nocci shrubs

The grove, garden or thicket

The grove of jack trees

The thicket or jungle of Āvaram shrubs

The forest of Kāñciram trees

Tōlai grove, jungle, thicket (meaning deduced from Eezham Tamil place names, especially in Jaffna); C/ T interchange, cognate of Cōlai: grove, dense growth of trees etc., flower garden, (Tamil, DED 2891, Kuṟuntokai, 201: 6); Tel: forest (Kota, DED 2891); Tel-uḷ: inside of the forest (Kota, DED 2891); Tel-uḷ-pay: house inside of the forest (Kota, DED 2891). See column 54 on Cōlai and column 33 on Tōlai
Ōlai grove, jungle, thicket (meaning deduced from Eezham Tamil place names, especially in Jaffna); 1. cognate of Tōlai and Cōlai, initial consonant dropped; 2. comes as equivalent to Poḻil and means a grove, as in Aiyap-poḻil = Aiyavōlai (Tamil, inscription, 1050 CE, AVNM, 2, pp. 6-8). See box on Tōlai above and columns 54, 33 and 284
Ollai grove, jungle, thicket (meaning deduced from Eezham Tamil place names, especially in Jaffna); 1. variation of Ōlai (see box on Ōlai above); 2. cognate of Kollai: forest tract, grove, enclosed garden, uncultivated land, cultivation land in cleared forest, dry-cultivation land (Tamil, MTL). See columns on Kollai and Golla
Tolla grove (meaning deduced from Sinhala place names); cognate of Tōlai: grove, jungle, thicket (Eezham Tamil place names); Tel: forest (Kota, DED 2891); Tala: multitude, "Samūhaya" (Sinhala, Sorata); Tula, Tulē: suffixes noticed in some Sinhala place names, as in Uku-tulē, Uḍa-tula etc. See boxes on Tōlai, Tulā and Tulaval
Tulā jungle, thicket (meaning deduced from Eezham Tamil place names in Jaffna and Vaṉṉi); cognate of Tōlai: grove, jungle, thicket (Eezham Tamil place names); Tel: forest (Kota, DED 2891). See boxes on Tōlai, Tolla and Tulaval
Tulaval also Tulāval, Tulavu: forest, jungle (meaning deduced from Eezham Tamil place names, especially in Vaṉṉi); Tel: forest (Kota, DED 2891). See boxes on Tōlai, Tolla, and Tulā. Note the Val affix; probably Tulavu > Tulaval
Pāy expanse (Eezham Tamil place names, especially in Jaffna). See column 67
Nocci the vitex species of shrubs and trees (Tamil, DED 3781). See column 1
Varaka variety of jack (Sinhala); Varukkai: a species of jack (Tamil, DED 5271). See column 28
Āvaram adjective and conjunction form of Āvarai, Āvārai, Āvirai: a common shrub, tanner's senna, Cassia auriculata (Tamil, DED 391, Kuṟuntokai, 173: 1-2)
Kāñcūran adjective and conjunction form; from Kāñciram, Kāñcirai: Strychnine tree (Tamil, DED 1434). See column 59 and box on Kaduru in column 14

The forms Tōlai, Tulā and Tulaval in Eezham Tamil place names, and Tolla rarely seen in Sinhala place names - all meaning a jungle or grove, correspond to Cōlai in Tamil/ Dravidian meaning the same (DED 2891). See column 54.

The terms don't have dictionary entries in Tamil or Sinhala.

But the C/ T interchange noticed in this case could be seen in another Dravidian language Kota, where Tel means forest (DED 2891).

The presence of an obscure strain of Dravidian in the toponymy of Eezham Tamil and Sinhala is an interesting feature. There are many other examples in place names to notice this phenomenon.

The term Ōlai is a cognate of Cōlai (absence of initial consonant). But Ollai could also be a cognate of another Tamil word Kollai, meaning the same as Cōlai. In Eezham Tamil toponymic usage, Ōlai and Ollai come in the contexts of thickets and scrubs too.

* * *

Tōlaip-pāy, also Tōlap-pāy is a locality in Urumpirāy in Valikamam East division of Jaffna district (Balasundaram, p. 256).

Nocci-ōlai (Nocciyōlai) is a locality in Urumpirāy in Valikamam Eaast division of Jaffna district (Balasundaram, p. 347, 347).

Ollai is a locality in Pulōli South in Vadamaratchi Southwest division of Jaffna district (HAM temple records, also Balasundaram, p. 191, noting the locality in Valveṭṭi)

Varaka-tolla is a place in Mathugama division of Kalutara district.

Āvaran-tulā is found as a place name in Vālaṇai in Kayts division of Jaffna district and in Vavuniya South division of Vavuniya district. The latter is noted as Āvaran-tulāva in Sinhala official records.

Kāñcūran-tulaval or Kañcūran-tulāval is a place near Tōṇikkal in Vavuniya district (Vavuniya OIS)

* * *

Some related place names:


Tōlai-kaṭṭi: Valikamam North, Jaffna. See column 33

Nā-tōlai: Iḷavālai, Valikamam North, Jaffna (info: Rajaratnam). Nā: Nāka tree

Varu-tōlai: Cuḻipuram, Valikamam West, Jaffna (Balasundaram, p. 301). Varu: probably related to Varattu: flood catchment area

Ammaṉ-tōlai: also Ampaṉ-tōlai: Nallūr, Jaffna (Balasundaram, p. 182, 325). Ammaṉ: goddess; Ampaṉ: probably related water source or to mango trees

Payit-tōlai: Accuvēli, Jaffna (Balasundaram, p. 319)

* * *


Paruttiyōlai: a land deed name in Kantarōṭai, Jaffna (Balasundaram, p. 69). Parutti+ōlai; Parutti: cotton

Iyakkacciyōlai: a land deed name in Kantarōṭai, Jaffna (Balasundaram, p. 69). Iyakacci+ōlai; Iyakkacci: Iyakki, Yakṣiṇi; or Iyaṅku: a thorny shrub

Kaḷḷiyōlai: a locality in Aḷaveṭṭi, Jaffna. Kaḷḷi+olai; Kaḷḷi: cactus

Aḷavōlai: also Aḷakollai: a locality in Aḷaveṭṭi, Jaffna

* * *


Iḷavollai: a locality in Tuṉṉālai, Jaffna (Balasundaram, p. 211). Iḷa+olaai; Iḷa: small

Kaḷḷiyoḷḷai: a locality in Kokkuvil, Jaffna (Balasundaram, p. 106). Kaḷḷi+olaai; Kaḷḷi: cactus. See Kaḷḷiyōlai

Vaṭiyollai: a locality in Paṉippulam, Cuḻipuram, Jaffna (Balasundaram, p. 260). Vaṭi+ollai

Neriyollai: a locality in Kokkuvil, Jaffna (Blasundaram, p. 105). Neri+ollai; Neri: crop or trees yielding second produce

Villiyaṉollai: Vatiri, Jaffna (V. almanac). Villiyaṉ+ollai

Ollai-vēmpaṭi: Kōppāy, Jaffna (HAM temple records)

* * *

Tulā, Tulaval, Tulavu:

Ciṉṉa-tulavil-kuḷam: Vavuniya OIS

Veṭi-vaitta-tulavil-kuḷam: Vavuniya OIS. Veṭi-vaitta: where the explosives were placed or shooting was conducted (for hunting)

Tulā-vala: Dankotuwa, Puttalam

* * *

Revised: Sunday, 07 May 2017, 18:30

First published: Wednesday, 31 October 2007, 01:24

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