Tam·​il ˈta-məl How to pronounce Tamil (audio) ˈtä- How to pronounce Tamil (audio)
: 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

Examples of Tamil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Sri Lankan government’s elimination of the secessionist Tamil Tigers as a military force in 2009 is often cited as an example of the successful use of force against a terrorist group. Shivshankar Menon, Foreign Affairs, 16 Nov. 2023 All three films were distributed in Tamil Nadu by Red Giant. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 6 Nov. 2023 It was eventually wiped out in 2009, after a brutal military offensive by Sri Lankan government forces into territory the Tamil Tigers controlled. Dan Lamothe, Washington Post, 15 Oct. 2023 In 2009, the Sri Lanka army crushed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, an ethnic separatist group of some 10,000 to 15,000 members, in the process killing up to 40,000 civilians, according to the United Nations. Audrey Kurth Cronin, Foreign Affairs, 15 Oct. 2023 Based in Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu, not far from where he was raised, the foundation is one of India’s most prominent centers of innovation, applying science and technology to assist women and rural development. Keith Schneider, New York Times, 28 Sep. 2023 Dravidian languages, such as Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam, have no historical relationship and virtually no linguistic similarities to the Indo-Aryan languages of the north. Phillip M. Carter, Fortune, 27 Sep. 2023 The neighboring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have been on high alert, and no new cases have been reported there, though these states have less vigilant health surveillance systems compared to Kerala. Efficient, Lucky—or Both? WIRED, 22 Sep. 2023 That means 85% of Indian box-office revenue comes from local content, mainly from Bollywood (the Hindi-language movie industry), and Telugu and Tamil cinema. Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times, 21 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Tamil.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Tamil Tamiẓ; akin to Pali Damiḷa, a Dravidian-speaking people, Sanskrit Dravida

First Known Use

1734, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of Tamil was in 1734

Dictionary Entries Near Tamil

Cite this Entry

“Tamil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Tamil. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

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