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South Dravidian etymology :

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Proto-South Dravidian : *ambali
Dravidian etymology: Dravidian etymology
Tamil : amalai
Tamil meaning : boiled rice
Tamil derivates : ampali porridge, esp. of rāgi (< Te.)
Kannada : ambali, ambakaḷa, ambila, ambuli, amli
Kannada meaning : pap or porridge made of jōḷa, rice, or rāgi, with buttermilk (also tamarind) generally added
Tulu : ambuli
Tulu meaning : pap or gruel of rāgi or rice
Proto-Nilgiri : *a[m]bel-
Notes : In DEDR Tam. ampali is marked as a borrowing from Telugu ambali. Regardless of whether this is correct, the alternate Tam. form amalai cannot be a regular correspondence, because -ai <> Tel. -i and -m- <> Tel. -mb-; we can only consider it a dialectal irregular variant. Kan. ambakaḷa < *ambal-kaḷa; for the second part of the compound cf., perhaps, Tel. kali (< *kaḷi) 'water in which rice has been washed'. The alternate explanation from *amba-kaḷa, without the final resonant, is much more dubious in the light of external data.
Number in DED : 0174

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