I want to know whether Savari is the Tamil Christian male name for Xavier?

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    I do not see how asking if a particular name in some language may be of Christian origin is off topic?
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 12:07
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    Welcome to the site Venkatraman and I hope you find an answer to your question.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 12:18
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    Wikipedia: Savari சவாரி
    – Flakes
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 13:07

2 Answers 2


Is the Tamil name Savari derived from the name Xavier?

It appears that the Tamil name Savari is not a Christian name and is unrelated to Xavier, after St. Francis Xavier.

The given name Xavier is a masculine name derived from the 16th-century Spanish Navarrese Roman Catholic Saint Francis Xavier.

St. Francis Xavier’s last name indicates where he is from: Javier, Spain.

Although not a very common name in Tamil, Hindi or Sanskrit, it could be used as a baptismal name in the Catholic Church for it is not offensive to the dignity of Christianity.

No exact English transliteration of the Tamil name can be found at the moment, but the above should suffice for now.

The Wikipedia page on the given name of Xavier states that it is as follows in the Tamil language: Savari (சவாரி). However, seeing that it gives no sources for this connection, it must be treated as dubious for the moment. In the Basque language it is a place-name (and surname) etxe berri, meaning 'castle', 'new house' or 'new home'. This does not agree with the above information as regards to the Tamil definitions of this name and is thus doubtful until proven that the contrary is true.

For more information on non-Catholic Christian names and baptism, please read my response to this question: Is Nessa or Vanessa a Catholic name?

  • I have to disagree with the Hindi, Tamil and Sanskrit meaning of the word Savari as quoted by Ken Graham. In fact, the word you searched for is savaari' with a double à' vowel pronunciation with v' which makes it a different word vis-a-vis savari' which has both s'and v' consonants supported by vowel à' for the same duration, something like the difference in pronunciation of first a'and the second `a'in àbacus'. Hope, I have been able to explain. Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 8:53
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    @KadalikattJosephSibichan I actually searched Savari with a single ”a”. Wikipedia as said admits a connect but offers no sources. For the moment, I do not believe I have erred.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 10:50
  • English is in deed, a rich language, but leaves much to be desired when it comes to transliteration of Southern Indian languages. For instance, Malayalam has 16 vowels and 36 consonants in its alphabet . Tamil, though having lesser numbers, makes up with an abundant freedom of diction. For instance, the right transliteration of the name attributed to St Xavier in Tamil would be ச்வரி. For a person who is a beginner, it could be read as chavari' savari 'of `shavari'. Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 4:19

In Southern India which traces Christianity to the time of St. Thomas the Apostle (who is believed to have reached India in AD 52) and to the missionaries including those from Portugal and Spain, christening of children often owed its source to the Syriac, Portuguese or Latin name of the saint (or Jesus himself!) after whom the child was proposed to be named.

It is not necessary that those names rhyme with their counterparts in English, for the very reason that English language has not been very kind to the original names when they are adapted. My language Malayalam, which is considered to be the sister-language of Tamil, has many such names. For instance : Yesu / Eeso for Jesus; Ouseph for Joseph; Marriyam for Mary : Varghese for George; Maathukkutty for Matthew; Yohannan for John; Looka for Luke; Markose for Mark ; Peelippose for Philip ; Yaacoob for Jacob; Thressiamma for Theresa and so on. I am sorry I can't tell how these names appear in Tamil.

The point I want to reinforce is that Christian names in Southern India may not rhyme with their counterparts in English; but could be more true to the original names in Syriac, Portuguese, Latin or Spanish.

By the way, St. Xavier was called Shouriar in Malayalam in the good old days'. Here,sh'is not pronounced as in she' but somewhere betweens'of sad'andsh'of `shaft'.

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    I just had a talk with my Tamil Christian friend. He says that Savari in deed is the Tamil version of Xavier. Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 8:42
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    To say Savari is Xavier is in Tamil is fine. Trust but verify! Xavier was called Shouriar in Malayalam in the good old days'. But it is Tamil we are interested in and Xavier is a Basque name.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 11:08
  • Tamil and Malayalam being sister-languages , there are many common words, including names, between the two. The very English name Xavier is prominent among Catholics of both the neighboring states. By the way, establishment of the British colonies in Southern India resulted in adoption of many Christian names which had been adapted to English. For instance, Màriyam' was replaced by the more fashionable name Mary', Òuseph' by Joseph' etc.Nowadays ,hardly any parents would christen their male baby ``Shouriar' which is sort-of outdated. My 80-year old Catholic neighbor, is Mr. Shouri. Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 3:59

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