Er/Eri has many shades of meaning (See Tulu Lexicon pages 486-487):
Eri = A species of a tasty fish (A wise-saying is prevalent in Tulunadu: “Eri tindudu bori’ maariye.” It means, the man addicted to the taste of ‘eri’, sold out his bullock). Bullock/Bull is an indispensable thing for a farmer. Also, it is a complementary to cart, for transport of goods and travel even in these days. Moral of this proverb is that one, who cultivates uncontrolled tastes to something, becomes reckless in life without minding the outcome).
Eri = A seed-bed, i.e. a bed or raised strip of soil for sowing seeds and planting vegetables.
Eri = Who are you?
Eri = Heat from fire or the Sun. Also means pungency of chilli.
Eri = A bund or bank in agricultural fields. Note the proverb in Tulu: “Erigu (Dande = bank to a water-course) neerda bala, neergu erida bala (=support). Neer and Eri are complementary to each other and hence their inter-dependence for survival).
Eri = An element of place name (Examples: Erya, Neriya, Erikkala (in Tulunadu), Andheri (MS), Vankaner (Guj). Tamilnadu and Srilanka have many place-names with this name-part.
We expound below the landscape or topography of Neriya in Tulunadu (Dakshina Kannada District with an attempt to arrive at its possible meaning.
Neriya (N’eri+ya). ‘Ya’ means a place or habitation. From this, we construct the meaning as ‘neera+erida+ya (=oor)’ (Post No.190). In terraced farming in hilly areas, there is a necessity of constructing ‘kattas’, dykes or bunds and tanks, to store water from (rapidly flowing) cascades, streams and brooks for daily subsistence and irrigation.
The word ‘neari’ is a good example for the survival of Proto-Dravidian strain in the place-names of Srilanka and for the affinities of this strain with the dialect of Southern tip of Tamilnadu. We have gleaned some related place-names in Sri Lanka with ‘neari’ as constituent thereof from ‘Tamilnet’. With due apology, we give them below:
Vaaka-neari/Vaaka-nearik-kulam (The reservoir of Vaakai trees/The banked reservoir of Vaakai trees, Van-nearik-kulam (The banked reservoir of Vanni trees), Thuvarai Neri = Bank of Thuvarai shrubs.
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