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Dravidian etymology :

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Proto-Dravidian : *ávai
Meaning : elder female relation (grandmother; elder brother's wife)
Nostratic etymology: Nostratic etymology
Proto-South Dravidian: *avai
Proto-Telugu : *avva
Proto-Kolami-Gadba : *ave
Proto-Gondi-Kui : *ave
Notes : The stem is occasionally used with pronominal prefixes (Tamil, Gondi), but their usage is too localised to suggest that the situation was the same in PDR. The original meaning of the root is hard to establish; it could hardly have been simply 'mother' (as there already are two basic terms for 'mother' in PDR - the honorific *áma- and the neutral *aj-). More often than not, the semantics of the stem is closely linked to the idea of old age or being elder (cf. 'old woman'; 'grandmother'; 'matron'; 'elder brother's wife'). The relations of this root with PDR *átai are also unclear. I would venture to guess that the original differentiation is seen in Kolami-Gadba, where *átai = 'father's sister', whereas *ávai = 'father's mother', but this is very flimsy evidence. // Present in 4/6 branches.

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