noun \ˈta-məl, ˈtä-\

Definition of TAMIL

:  a Dravidian language of Tamil Nadu state, India, and of northern and eastern Sri Lanka
:  a Tamil-speaking person or a descendant of Tamil-speaking ancestors

Origin of TAMIL

Tamil Tamiẓ; akin to Pali Damiḷa, a Dravidian-speaking people, Sanskrit Dravida
First Known Use: 1734

Rhymes with TAMIL


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any member of a people originally of southern India who speak the Tamil language. The Tamil have a long history of achievement; sea travel, city life, and commerce seem to have developed early among them. They traded with the ancient Greeks and Romans. They have the oldest cultivated Dravidian language and a rich literary tradition. They are mostly Hindus (the Tamil area in India is a centre of traditional Hinduism). Sri Lanka has two distinct Tamil populations, the so-called Ceylon Tamil and the Indian Tamil. Tensions between the Ceylon Tamil and the Sinhalese Buddhist majority prompted a Tamil guerrilla insurgency in the 1980s that continued into the 21st century. The Tamil number about 57 million, with 3.2 million living in Sri Lanka.


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