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Yaaru anna

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I found it very peculiar the day when I could come to know that in Tamil Brahmin families, a wife refers to her husband with respect as - "ANNA".

That was the very first time when it appeared to be very strange for me as upto that moment I could know that only one's elder brothers are called "ANNA".

I didn't bother about it much and just kept going on...The days passed. May be because my Mom use to call my Dad as "ATHTHAAN" being married to "ATHTHAI MAGAN". I came across the same word "ANNA" in an unwanted situation that made me feel much embarrassed and left me irritated.

I had a 20 years young girl as my colleague with whom the official interactions were quit often. Gradually in a due course of time we became a very good friend. I was quit bemused to note that she had developed some sort of crush on me...I just kept ignoring her. Knowing me ignoring her, she used to make fun of me.

One day I told her that if she wants to continue my friendship than she need to call me - "ANNA". Myself being 3 years elder to her.

I got one spontaneous reply from her that made me feel much embarrassed and left me speech less for few minutes. The reply from the girl was -


With grate difficulty I could tackle the situation...

I know that in present generation no one call her husband as "ANNA". In fact calling by name is much preferred by both wives and husbands. I too like that.

But I just want to know some facts on -

1) Why in our community a wife used to call her husband as "ANNA"?
2) Does the term "ANNA" has dual meaning?
3) If yes for the second question, what is the second meaning?

Expecting some clues for my questions...


In our own culture, it is like that. Wife is not treated as other girl. She is like the daughter of the parents. So only she calls, her FIL as Appa and MIL as Amma. She will call all the relatives of her husband side as her husband only. For example, her husband mama will be the mama for her too.

With that same logic, wives started calling hubbies as anna (elder son of that parents). But, ofcourse the meaning will be entirely different. Might be your father calls you Ravi and your brother too calls you ravi and your boss too calls you ravi. Certainly there will be a difference na... So, by simply calling ANNA, it cannot be related to brother. Also, in those days, wives will be very shy to say their husband's ame or to yell or shout like today's well-cultured mistresses, this will be very easy way to call her husband, at that same time, people from outside will get confuse whether she is calling her husband or brother...

Sri Durgadasan ji,

Thank you very much for your reply...

I liked your brief explanations and some of your funny remarks...


It is not Anna as you hear.It is Ey nna , E nna --- meaning are you not hearing me?....
Your Quote abt ANNA disturbed me much.I also want to know the real reason of our brahmin ladies were taught by our ancestors to call their Husband as ANNA.
After going through some articles written by Polat-Kaya, a scholar who
provides Turkish-Sumerian connection. And was reading what he was
saying about the sumerian word
‘Anna’ in Sumerian refers to sky God.
There are many Sumerian names end with
‘Anna’, eg. Enheduanna, Inanna, E-anna
I think the ‘An’ in ‘Anna’ completes all of our Tamil sentences. eg.
which could be a derivation of
‘Pad+ E +kal + an’
irukkiran as ‘E+Lu+Gal+an’ and so on.
Tamil ‘An+An=Annan’ refers to elder brother.
Astonishingly ‘Anna’ in Tamil appears in the same meaning as in
Sumerian. It was an Eureka moment for me. Yes. ‘Annandu paar’ or
‘Annaaru’ means Look at the sky.
‘Annaar’ refers to the dead people who are resurrected. ‘Annal’ refers
to holy people.

So that may be the reason why all wifes of our community calls their husband as ANNA.
It is not Anna as you hear.It is Ey nna , E nna --- meaning are you not hearing me?....
Yes. You are right, Sri Suryakasyapa. The sound which we hear as 'Anna' does not mean elder brother. It is a corruption of 'enna' என்ன calling the attention of the hearer and is not a question word.
Enna will be one form.. But sollungonna, vangonna, sapdungonna...are all these comes under the same category of 'e' nna??? Anyhow, the research of TSS sir in this respect is astonishing...
Sri Sankara Narayanan ji,

The same with me.....That's why I initiated this topic...

I get irritated and much embarrassed when other community people make mockery on us for simple things that sounds reasonable for us too...

The term “ANNA”, that’s been used to refer to one’s husband, may have some cryptic synonym. But the usage in general sounds peculiar to many of us

But I believe, the present generation girls would never use "ANNA" to refer to their husbands. Obviously Brahmin girls would have also come across such taunting...

I would like to affirm that, I am not attempting to criticize our community in any ways. I am just highlighting some of these that help us to understand why we Brahmins have been considered jocularly.


In Telugu, women call their husbands "Yemandi?"

In Coimbatore district, women call "Yenunga?"

In many other areas of Tamilnadu, "Yennanga?" is used.

So, 'anna' is a corrupt form of 'enna' only.

Linking Sumerian words to this usage is imagination far fetched.

The word 'annal' is used to denote 'thalaivan' (Annalum nokkinaan, avalum nokkinaal)
in the Sangam literature -Agathinai (thalaivan and thalaivi). Annal is also used to denote greatmen like Gandhi Annal. (like Bapuji)

The word 'annandhu' means 'thalai nimirndhu' or 'thalaiyai uyarthi'. It has nothing to do with the current topic.
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