[tam-uh l, tuhm-, tah-muh l]
noun, plural Tam·ils, (especially collectively) Tam·il.
  1. a member of a people of Dravidian stock of S India and Sri Lanka.
  2. the Dravidian language of the Tamils, spoken in India principally in Tamil Nadu state and in Sri Lanka on the N and E coasts.
  1. of or relating to the Tamils or their language.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for tamil


  1. plural -ils or -il a member of a mixed Dravidian and Caucasoid people of S India and Sri Lanka
  2. the language of this people: the state language of Tamil Nadu, also spoken in Sri Lanka and elsewhere, belonging to the Dravidian family of languages
  1. of or relating to this people or their language
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for tamil


Dravidian people and language of southern India, 1734, from Pali Damila, from Sanskrit Dramila, variant of Dravida (see Dravidian).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper