Origin of the word Dravidiam
The English word Dravidian was first employed by Robert Caldwell in his 1856 book of comparative Dravidian grammar based on the usage of the Sanskrit word dravi?a in the work Tantravarttika by Kumarila Bha??a (Zvelebil 1990). Caldwell used 'Dravidian' as a generic name for the family of languages spoken in Southern India to distinguish them from Indo-Aryan, the branch of Indo-European spoken in the Indian subcontinent. Before Caldwell, the word dravi?a was traditionally used to designate the Tamil language and people, and vaguely the people of South India. In his own words, Caldwell says,
The word I have chosen is ‘Dravidian', from Dravi?a, the adjectival form of Dravida. This term, it is true, has sometimes been used, and is still sometimes used, in almost as restricted a sense as that of Tamil itself, so that though on the whole it is the best term I can find, I admit it is not perfectly free from ambiguity. It is a term which has already been used more or less distinctively by Sanskrit philologists, as a generic appellation for the South Indian people and their languages, and it is the only single term they ever seem to have used in this manner. I have, therefore, no doubt of the propriety of adopting it.
As for the origin of the Sanskrit word dravi?a itself there have been various theories proposed. Basically the theories are about the direction of derivation between tami? and dravi?a .
There is no definite philological and linguistic basis for asserting unilaterally that the name Dravida also forms the origin of the word Tamil (Dravida -> Dramila -> Tamizha or Tamil).Kamil Zvelebil cites the forms such as dramila (in Da??in's Sanskrit work Avanisundarikatha ) dami?a (found in Ceylonese chronicle Mahavamsa) and then goes on to say (ibid. page xxi), "The forms dami?a / damila almost certainly provide a connection of dr(a/a)vi?a " and "... tami? < tami? ...whereby the further development might have been * tami? > * dami? > dami?a - / damila - and further, with the intrusive, 'hypercorrect' (or perhaps analogical) - r -, into dr(a/a)vi?a . The - m -/- v - alternation is a common enough phenomenon in Dravidian phonology" (Zvelebil 1990 p.xxi) Zvelebil in his earlier treatise (Zvelebil 1975: p53) states, "It is obvious that the Sanskrit dr(a/a)vi?a , Pali damila , dami?o and Prakrit d(a/a)vi?a are all etymologically connected with tami? " and further remarks "The r in tami? > dr(a/a)vi?a is a hypercorrect insertion, cf. an analogical case of DED 1033 Ta. Kamuku , Tu. kangu "areca nut": Skt. kramu (ka) .”
The Sanskrit word dravi?a itself is later than dami?a since the dates for the forms with -r- are centuries later than the dates for the forms without -r- ( dami?a , dame?a -, damela - etc.).
[ Ref] -- www.en. Wikipedia.org/wiki/Dravidian languages/origin of the word Dravidian
The etymology of the name Dravidam is very simple. Dravidam = Thee + Ra+ Vai +tam or Thee + Ra+ vidam. Vidam or idam means the place or the land. Thee + ra denotes the ‘Athee ‘[primordial fire] and the sun respectively. Hence Dravidam means the land of people who were the worshipers of Thee + Ra [thirai-- sky]] or whose ancestors were from sky or Thee+ Ra. It could be Thiru vidam , the land of Thiru, the ‘ wealthy land ‘ . Dravidians have the prefix ‘Thiru ‘ before their names. For example Thiru . k. Ramasmy ; The names of the places also have Thiru . For example; Chira palli is called as Thiru-chirappalli; Centhur is called as Thiru centhur. Presently Thiru means ‘respectable ‘ [Sanskrit equivalent word is ‘Sri ‘ and it is the corrupted form of the Tamil word Thiri-- Thee+ re, feminine [ Sthiri] form of Thee+ Ra; It is equivalent to' Mister ‘]. The original meaning of Thiru is Thee+ Ra or Thiraiyan . Alternatively, Dravidam means the land of Thirayan, the sea farers ‘--the ruler of the sea . Thiraiyan could also means' the ruler of the sky ‘. ‘Thiru' could also be originated from ‘ Theeran' or ‘Dheeran'.
‘Thiruvadira' star is actually Thirai Aaa thee Orai star.
“ Thirai kadal odiyum thiraviyam thaedu” means “Go forth! Make your fortunes-- money/ knowledge--- at any cost ! Be prepared to venture across the ocean[s] even if she is restless”!. This ‘Aathi sudi ‘ of Awvaiyar could mean “ Be prepared to venture up in to the sky[ Velli Thirai -- sky or upper world] and down in to the oceans[ Kadal- thirai --lower world] to bring the knowledge about Thee + Ra to the earth . Thiraiviyam means Vaiathil [earth] Thee + Ra.
Did Awaiyar mean about the Thirai kadal, the Tyre [ of Lebonan ], the Mediterranean sea?! If so her statement means , “Be ready to have sea trade with the Tyre kadal---the Mediterranean sea to make money”. We know that ancient Indians , the Dravidians had import and export relationships with several Mediterranean countries. The people of Tyre of Lebonan , the Phoenicians were called as ‘ Thirayans' in the ancient past. If so who were the Phoenecians?!
Women of Dravidian land have the prefix ‘Thirumathi' before their names. Thirumathi means Thirai + Maa + Aathee . ‘ Thirai Maa Aathee' is the primordial fire of the sky. This meaning had lost its implications and later women started ‘veil 'ing [ Thirai --the screen or the veil ] their face [ mathi -- moon like face] with their sari [ Mukkadu]. Hence any woman of any nation has a veil on her head/face she has some Dravidian connections ..
Thirudu [ steal] is the combination of Thiru + yedu i/e. take away the ‘thiru' the' wealth' Thirudan means one who takes away the thiru[ Thee+ ra in the night . This ‘Thirudan ‘ is nothing but the Kallan , or the Kalan , lord Siva , the Ra , the sun god.
Thirai [, tharai , thaarai ] thiran, tharam, theera, theeran[ Dheeran], thiraiviam , theeram, thiratu , thiravam , thiravakam and thee rath'am [ theertham ] are related words [ including the Bombay ‘s slum Daravi--thirai + vidam = seashore].