Egyptian words in Kannada and Tamil – Part 1

V. Krishnakumar

Still editing …

While studying Egyptian words in Budge’s Egyptian Hieroglyphic dictionary [49], I found to my surprise a good number of words in Tamil and Kannada quite similar to the Egyptian. I did a little more systematic study of the Dictionary; the following table is the outcome of this study. The comparison of words is not very straight-forward. However the similarity becomes obvious once certain approximations are made. We have stated the approximations that we have made as a set of rules below. The set of rules for approximations are quite natural since we need the same set for comparing the two Dravidian languages Tamil and Kannada themselves. 

Rule 1: Egyptian hieroglyphs lack vowels [29], hence we have freedom to choose the vowels.

Rule 2: Tamil has just one symbol for all the consonants in each of the ‘Vargas’ that is,

a. ‘Ka’ stands for ‘Ka’, ‘Kha’, ‘Ga’ and ‘Gha’

b. ‘Cha’ stands for ‘Cha’, ‘Chha’, ‘Ja’ and ‘Jha’

c. ‘Ta’ stands for ‘Ta’, ‘Tta’, ‘Da’ and “Dda’

d. ‘Tha’ stands for ‘Tha’, ‘Ttha’, ‘Dha’ and ‘Ddha’

e. ‘Pa’ stands for ‘Pa’, ‘Pha’, ‘Ba’ and ‘Bha’

Apart from this, ‘Sa’, ‘Sha’ in Tamil are represented by ‘Cha’.

It may be noted that this transformation is needed for mapping words between Kannada and Tamil.

Rule 3: In Tamil certain accentuations are written linear. For example Krishna as Kirushna, Prabhakar as Pirabhakar.

Rule 4: In some of the Kannada dialects ‘h’ at the beginning of the word is silent, for example the word ‘halli’ meaning a village is pronounced as ‘alli’.


For the Egyptian words: the case of the vowels is preserved as in [49]

For the Kannada and Tamil words: upper case indicates Deergha Svara, the lowercase Hruswa Svara.

  Page number as in Budge [49] Egyptian word from Budge [49] Meaning from Budge [49] Similar sounding Kannada or Tamil words Meaning of the Kannada or Tamil word of the previous column Similar sounding English word
  533 khakhai Beak(?) of a bird Kaakai(T) Crow  
  533 khast Desert(?) Kashta (K) Difficulty  
  188 ut To tie, swathe, to wind bandages around a dead body Udu (K) To wrap around (a saree), wear  
  188 utaut Swathings, mummy bandages Uduvudu (udodu) (K) To wrap around, to wear  
  188 uti Destruction Odi(KT) To break, to destroy  
  188 Utanu the name of a god Odeya, Odeyanu(K) lord, master  
  188 utt To beget, to produce Utthu(K) Plough  
  189 uten To breach a wall, to bore through Ode(KT) To break  
  189 uten To be heavy, a weight Hottenu(K) Bore (a weight)  
  533 khakh re “Hasty of mouth”, a man who speaks without much thought Gaagu(mT) Stupid, thoughtless  
  152 uaa-t Vomiting, nausea Vaanthi(KT) Vomit  
  231 Paa-t a lake in the Tuat paathi(K) pit  
  332 met-t the middle of anything madhya(K) the middle of anything mid(E)
  332 met canal bank mettu(T), mEdu(T) mound, rising ground  
  661 sep to pass the time(?) (kAla-)kshEpa (K)  spending (time)  
    khara to speak angrily khAra(K) hot of tongue, (to speak) harsh  
  713 set to break, smash, cleave, breach a wall sidi(K) break in a spurt, explode  
  713 set-t breach, break, opening sidi(K) break in a spurt, explode  
  712 seth, sthi to light a fire sudu(K,T) to burn  
  644 sati slaughterer, executioner, gods who slay sati(K,T) the practice of woman sacrifice in India  
  644 sat something foul saththu(K) die  
  644 sat, saat to make weak, to reduce saththu(K) die  
  644 sati to prove, to show sattu(T) truth, essence, wisdom  
  233 papa to bring forth, to bear, give birth to, born of pApA(T), pApu(K) child  
  232 Paru a form of Ra pAru(T) see, vision  
  630 sether to be shaken, disturbed cheduru(K) disperse  
  631 set to sow seed chedi(K) plant  
  627 set earth, ground, soil sEta(K) fertile soil, ploughed soil  
  279 mata jaw bones (?) of a bull mAdu(T) cow  
  281 Mapu a title of honor(?) mAple, short form is mApu(T) a title of honor  
  285 m’kha to tie, to bind amuku(K) to press, to hug  
  419 Ruru(?) a god ruru(KT) a god  
  434 rek to kindle a fire, to burn rEgu(KT) to scold, heated conversation  
  434 reqeh flame, heat, fire reqe(K) a ray( of sun)  
  434 rekeh to be hot, to burn, to consume by fire irakkuh(mT) to feel hot (hot weather), heat  
  615 skhaa to cut, sword, knife sighaa(du haku) (K) to cut up someone ray(E)
  614 sekh event, incident sigu(K), shikku(T) to meet, intersect  
  400 neta to come, to advance neta(K) leader  
  400 nt-a rule, order, canon, custom, ordinance, statute, law, formula, stipulations,ordinances, ceremonies, the liturgy for the burial of the dead nEti(KT) rule, morals, code of conduct, law, custom   
  399 ntt-t cord, band, thread, fillet, ties, bandages, ligatures     net(E)
  399 ntt(?) to weave, to bind, to tie     net(verb)(E), knit(E)
  399 ntt that which is, this which antha(K), antu(T) that which is , this which  
  399 nti the thing which is, what is antha(K), antu(T) the thing which is, what is  
  398 nt who, which antha(K), antu(T) who, which  
  1 a-t field adu(T) region at(E)
  1 aati enemy (K) war  
  1 aati be strong, hostile aadisu(K), aadi(T) to trouble  
  1 aati be strong, hostile adi(T) to hit (someone or something)  
  2 aaia to extinguish, to put out a fire avi(T), Ari to extinguish, to put out a fire  
  2 aab-t calamity, ruin aApathu(KT) calamity, disaster  
  2 Aaanu the ape god Thoth aAAnu(T) male, alpha male  
  2 aas a weapon ishu(K) an arrow  
  2 au-t length, largeness uddah(K) length, long  
  3 au-tab swelling of the heart utha(KT) swelling  
  3 au-t food, offering, sepulcheral meals, supplies of all kinds authana(K) food  
  3 au-t slaughters, animals slaughtered for food vett(T) slaughter  
  3 Auit(?) a goddess of nurses and children aAtha(T) mother, mother goddess  
  3 au sorrow, pain, sadness nau(KT) pain, sorrow, sadness auch(E)
  4 ausha balsam, incense, unguent of a light yellow colour aushadhi(K) medicine, unguent  
  4 abebu to love, to wish for, to desire, to long for apaekshisu(K) to expect, to wish for, to desire,to long for  
  4 ab be thirsty ap(KTS) water  
  4 abut forefathers, grandparents, ancestors, kinsfolk pAti(T) grandmother  
  4 abu-t kindly disposition aAptha-(mithra)(K) ideal, very close (friend)  
  4 abut forefathers, grandparents, ancestors, kinsfolk aAptha-(mithra)(K) ideal, very close (friend)  
  4 abut forefathers, grandparents, ancestors, kinsfolk appa(K) father  
  4 abut forefathers, grandparents, ancestors, kinsfolk abachi(K) mother, father(thanthi?)  
  5 abt to shut, to bolt in podu(T) to shut, to close, to bolt in, latch  
  6 afu to injure, to inflict an injury abu(T) wound  
  6 ama, ami to mix together, to compound a medicine, to rub down drugs ammi-(kallu) (T) grinding or powdering or mixing (stone) mix(E)
  6 ames, amsu rod of authority, sceptre, staff     mace(E)
  5 af offerings of birds and fish     offering(E)
  5 af-t gift, offering, present     gift, offering(E)
  6 afit flame, fire pittha(KT) heat  
  6 afri smoke, hot vapour aAvi(T) steam  
  6 afer to burn, to be hot     burn(E)(tamil transformatn)
  7 ani to remove, to put aside ani(K) to arrange  
  7 ara to go up, to embark in a boat, to bring, to be high aeru(KT) to go up, to climb up  
  7 arar high, exalted aeridavaru(K), aernavar(T) a peson who has gone up, high, exalted  
  7 arta to be safe, sure, security artha(K) something which gives surity and security, money  
  7 an-t removal antha(K) the end  
  7 arg a member of the body anga(KT) a member of the body  
  8 ahem to advance aAgama(K) advance of (water, flood, …etc)  
  8 ahtu grief atthu(K) having cried  
  8 aha-t the offering of a field aAhuti(K) an offering usually to a god  
  8 ahnu canal Anekattu(K) dam  
  8 Akh-t the first season of the year (the season of inundation when the Nile was in flood [67]) aAgatha(K) the coming of water, inundation  
  8 Akh-t the first season of the year (the season of inundation when the Nile was in flood [67]) ukhutha(K) swelling of a liquid  
  8 ahtu weak, powerless, grief aAhAdu(T) impossible  
  8 ahtu weak, powerless, grief AhAdavu incapable, weak, powerless  
    proyet the second season of the year, springing forth [67] PrAyatha(K) springing forth  
    shomu the third season of the year, deficiency[67] kshama(K), kshamu(T) famine, drought  
  8 ah-het the pit or shaft of a tomb Hhonda(K) pit, pot-hole  
  8 akhi reed, water plant akki(K) paddy  
  9 asu to make haste, to hurry to, to flow quickly, to run, to attack, to judge hurriedly, hasting with swift feet asa(K) speed  
  9 as to be light, speedy asa(K) speed  
  9 asu birds asaga(K) birds  
  9 as old(?) as(K) debilitated  
  9 as gall, gall-duct or gall-bladder, filth Kasa(K) dirt, filth, garbage ass(E)
  9 as-ti testicles     testis

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