Meaning of Dravidian in English:


Pronunciation /drəˈvɪdɪən/


  • Relating to or denoting a family of languages spoken in southern India and Sri Lanka, or the peoples who speak them.

    ‘It also has borrowed words from Dravidian languages of southern India, mostly Tamil.’
    • ‘The Dravidian groups include the Gond, Oraon, Khond, Malto, Bhil, Mina, Garasia, Pradhan etc. and speak Austric or Dravidian family of languages.’
    • ‘Some evidence for this can be seen in Table 3.5, which shows some regional and caste differences in lexicon and grammar from two regional and social dialects of Kannarese, a Dravidian language spoken in south India.’
    • ‘Indo-Aryan, a branch of Indo-European, covers the northern half of the country, and the Dravidian family covers the southern third.’
    • ‘This is one of the most ancient temples of India built in unique Dravidian style - imposing and with delicate architectural beauty.’
    • ‘The peoples of the Indus civilization spoke a Dravidian language around 2500 BC.’
    • ‘The Tamils emigrated to the north of the island from southern India, bringing Hinduism and their Dravidian language with them.’
    • ‘Born in the modern Murgarapattam in the southern Dravidian province, he was the son of Aruni and Jayanti, a very pious Brahman a couple of the Tailanga order.’
    • ‘Is the Indus script an early relative of Sanskrit and thus an Indo-European language, or is it a Dravidian language spoken and written by early indigenous people?’
    • ‘Then, I have always thought that I was Dravidian because I speak what I was told is a Dravidian language.’
    • ‘Unlike most languages of Pakistan, it belongs to the Dravidian language family.’
    • ‘Gondi belongs to the Dravidian family of languages and is related to Tamil and Kannada.’
    • ‘Most Indian languages belong to the Indo-European or Dravidian families.’
    • ‘To date, he has in his cap over 50 feature films in Hindi and all Dravidian languages.’
    • ‘Telugu, the official language of Andhra Pradesh, is a Dravidian language.’
    • ‘But today, the wooing of the BJP by the Dravidian parties has reduced the clout of the language used to propagate regional pride.’
    • ‘As the earliest lithic records in Dravidian languages, there are some rare words used in the inscriptions, which are not found in Old Tamil and the literary texts.’
    • ‘Brahui, the northernmost Dravidian language, has 1,710,000 speakers in three countries, but mostly in Pakistan.’
    • ‘The same is also true of Kannada, a sister Dravidian language, and to some extent of Arabic.’


  • 1mass noun The Dravidian family of languages.

    ‘One was Dravidian, a language family now centered on southern India.’
    • ‘Mann abstracts a passage from the Bhagavata Purana to illustrate the interwoven strands of Aryan and Dravidian in the story.’
  • 2A member of any of the peoples speaking a Dravidian language.

    ‘By language we are Tamils, by race Dravidians and by nationality Indians.’
    • ‘One of the underlying themes of Sinhala chauvinism is the superiority of the ‘Aryan’ Sinhalese over the southern Indian Dravidians or Tamils.’
    • ‘As I mentioned earlier, racially and linguistically, the East Indians and Africans have a common origin, going back to the ancient Sumerians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Dravidians.’
    • ‘The ‘big bang’ theory of Indian Civilization - the so-called seismic clash between Aryans and Dravidians - has bitten dust, without RSS historians having to lift a shovel.’
    • ‘The citizens of Ahmadabad are mixed races of Dravidians, Aryans, Persians, Arabs and Africans.’
    • ‘The Pais were an Indian race of demons, sometimes considered to represent the cattle-raiding indigenous Dravidians, who fought the invading Aryans for riches.’
    • ‘Then, around 1500 B.C., India is said to have been invaded by tribes called the Aryans: white-skinned, nomadic people, who originated somewhere in Western Russia and imposed upon the Dravidians the hateful caste system.’
    • ‘The favorite deity of ancient Dravidians, Manasa, was a snake Goddess who sat on a lotus throne wearing a tiara of seven cobras.’
    • ‘At the same time gods like Krishna are internalized as Aryan deities to such an extent that the Dravidians are, at times, unwilling to recognize their own previous deities.’
    • ‘Yet he is fair in his judgment of the Aryans and Dravidians, he regards both peoples as equally primitive and as not having even developed agriculture much less any civilisation of their own.’
    • ‘The Dravidians and their deities have been incorporated into Aryan society both physically and spiritually.’
    • ‘The citizens of the Indus Valley were not wholly homogenous non-Aryans or Dravidians but were a mixed ethnic population.’
    • ‘The point in contention is that the cow is not sacred for Dravidians.’
    • ‘By that token, Buddhists and Jains, Dravidians and Aryans were all included.’
    • ‘And on the other hand, it divided India and pitted against each other the low caste dark-skinned Dravidians and the high caste light-skinned Aryans, a rift which is still enduring.’
    • ‘But some scholars assert that fair skinned Aryans invaded India during 1500 BC and defeated dark skinned Dravidians and pushed them into South India.’
    • ‘Actually, they're Dravidians, from south India - they've just been in Frontier Province long enough to soak up some of the local attitude.’

Dravidian languages were once spoken throughout the Indian subcontinent, but were restricted to the south following the arrival of speakers of Indic languages c.1000 BC. Those still used, by over 160 million people, include Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and Telugu


From Sanskrit drāviḍa ‘relating to the Tamils’ (from Dravida ‘Tamil’) + -ian.