நாவாய் Naavaai the old word for Ship.
One of Tamil word for ship/boat is Naavaai (நாவாய்), lets analyze this word a little more to get the root meaning of this famous word.. This word is found in many languages like Sanskrit(Naava) Latin Navis, English Navy and a lot more IE languages.
நாவாய்/Naa-vaai is the Tamil word, splitting up we have,
Naa – Recieving+unknown, Seeking + unknown, Going for the unknown, from which comes the word Naai(Dog), Naatram(smell), Naattam/Naadu(seek), Naathi(seeked thing) etc…
Vaai – (independently Vaai also means Mouth) The Va sound refers to the object’s shape, growth, how it comes out. The long ‘a” refers to the unknown/hidden property of va, so Vaai literally should means that which has no fixed shape/growth, shape unknown. The Mouth gets its name Vaai because its just the opening and has no shape to identify.
So here we have literally.. Seeking unknown shape/unknown identity. so Naavaai should literally mean, Seeking the unknown/Hidden things/places, Going around seeking new openings/paths.