The Word “Tamil”

Tamil Heritage Month began in 2010 and seeks to celebrate Tamil heritage, culture, and history. Throughout this month, we will be providing you with educational material such as this that seeks to help us understand our culture, roots and heritage.

The meaning of the word Tamil is sweet, beauty and naturalness. This word occurs in the Tholkappiyam, the earliest text written work available in Tamil. Tholkappiyam is a grammatical work belonging to the 3rd century BC. In the ancient literature, the word Tamil also denotes the race, country, people and army. According to the Tamil Scholar Devaneyappaavanar, the word “Dravidam” also originates from the word “Tamil”.


International Tamil Language Foundation (2000). Tirukkural; The handbook of Tamil culture and heritage; Guide to Tamils Future. Illinois, National Publishing Co.

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