Tamil Proverbs on Importance of Water (Post No.3803)

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 9 APRIL 2017


Time uploaded in London:- 22-08


Post No. 3803


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.


contact; swami_48@yahoo.com

Water is very essential for any living being. Water changes the geography and the history of the world. From the oldest Vedas to the 17th Century Tiruvilaayatal Purana (Giving the miracles of Lord Shiva based in Madurai temple), we have innumerable references to drought and  the migration of people. No wonder that the Tamils also have so many proverbs on water in Tamil .


I have just compiled some Tamil proverbs at the request of a research student who is studying role water in every culture. I give below a rough translation of those Tamil proverbs:


Tamil Veda Tirukkural praises the rains in the second chapter. The last couplet says,

“Eve as life on earth cannot sustain without water, virtue too depends ultimately on rain (Kural 20)


World cannot exist in the absence of the waters is also found in 2000 year old Sangam Tamil Literature (Natrinai verse 1)


Tamil Proverbs

1.A country without water, an open courtyard without moon (both are desolate places)

(Niirillaa Naadu, Nilavillaa Mutram)

2.It is like the bottle gourd that is submerged in water (It can never be submerged; impossible task)

Niiril amiZththina suraikaay pola


3.Water also kills, Fire also kills

(Niirum kollum, Neruppum kollum)

4.It is like a mixture of water and algae (so muddy; confused)

(niirum paasiyum kalanthaar poola)

5.If you beat (smack) the water, will it become separate? (What is the use of punishing)

(Niirai adihthaal nir vilakuma?

6.Like washing the water and burying the shadow (impossible task)

(Niiraik kazuvi Nilavaip puthaippathu pola)


7.Spilling the water, frittering away the wealth

(Wasting water is like wasting the hard earned money)

(Niirai sinthinaiyoo, siirai sinthinaiyo)


8.Like the land spoils water (taste of water depends upon the condition of the land where it is stored)

(Nilaththinaal Niirin thanmai kundrinaarpola)


9.If the pot is full of water it does not make noise (Empty vessel makes noise)

(Nirai Kutam Thazumpaathu)


10.He is very clever who could see the foot print or the track in water

(Thanniirile Thatam Paarppaan)

11.Should he show his strength in the water? (Stupid act)

(Thanniirileyaa than Balam Kaatturathu)


12.Even the egg that sumbmerged in water should come when you put the aalt

(Thanniiril amukkina Muttai uppu pota kilambum)

13.Who knows whether frog in the water drank  water or not?

(Thanniiril irukkira thavalai thanniiraik kutiththathaik kantathu yaar? kutiyaathathaik kantathu yaar?)


14.Even if you fart under water, it would come out (obvious act)

Thanniirin kiize kusu vittaal thalaikku mele)

15.Water and anger are seen in low places

(Thanniirumkopamum Thaazntha itaththilee)


  1. Even water tolerates three mistakes

(Thanniirum Mundru Pilazi Porukkum)

17.Can you disparage or deprecate water and mother?

(Thanniiraiyum thaayaiyum pazikkalaamaa?)

18.Even if water becomes hot, it extinguishes fire

(Thanniir venniir aanaalum Neruppai avikkum)


  1. Can any one separate coldness from water and hotness from fire (inborn qualities)

(thanniirinindrum thanmai piriyumo,thiiyinindrum velmmai piriyumo?)


20.Salt that came out of water must dissolve in water itself

(Thanniiril piRantha uppu, thanniirileye karaiya vendum)

There are more proverbs on water. The list here is not exhaustive)




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