The Tamil Word “Machaan”!


By T.V. Antony Raj

I doubt the word ‘Machaan‘ used by the Tamils all over the world and the word ‘Machaang‘ used by the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka derived from the Tamil word have any connection to the English word ‘Chum‘.

It’s common among Tamils living mostly in the southern part of Tamil Nadu to use the term ‘Machaan‘ to address one’s brother-in-law, the male offspring of one’s maternal uncle or the male offspring of one’s paternal aunts.

The Tamil word ‘Machaan‘ was adapted by the Sinhalese in Sri during the 20th century as ‘Machaang‘ to address their close friends.

Long ago, the youngsters in all parts of Tamil Nadu, India, used the word ‘Maapillai‘ shortened as ‘Maapla‘ to address their close friends mainly in the Tirunelveli and Madurai regions.

Now, the original word ‘Machaan‘ has spawned the colloquial word “Machi” and is now commonly used by present day Tamil youngsters to address their close associates.

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