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Kaduva vs. Puli — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on December 24, 2023
Kaduva and Puli are both terms used in South Indian languages, with Kaduva generally meaning "tiger" and Puli also meaning "tiger" or "leopard" in various contexts.
Kaduva vs. Puli — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Kaduva and Puli


Key Differences

Kaduva, often found in Malayalam, signifies a tiger. Puli, predominantly used in Tamil and Malayalam, also refers to a tiger or leopard. Both words embody cultural significance in South Indian folklore and language.
Kaduva, in a metaphorical sense, can denote strength or ferocity. Puli, while similar, is sometimes used more broadly to denote a fierce animal or even metaphorically in literature and colloquial speech to describe fierceness or agility.
In cultural contexts, Kaduva is often a symbol of raw power and majesty. In contrast, Puli can represent cunning and adaptability, seen in various stories and local folklore.
Kaduva, as used in Malayalam, has specific phonetic and script representations unique to the language. Puli, with its use in both Tamil and Malayalam, shows variations in pronunciation and script between these languages.
Today, Kaduva and Puli are used in modern media, literature, and colloquial speech, often retaining their traditional connotations but also adapting to new contexts and meanings.

Comparison Chart

Language Origin

Predominantly Malayalam
Tamil and Malayalam

Literal Meaning

Tiger or Leopard

Metaphorical Use

Symbol of strength
Represents cunning or agility

Cultural Significance

Majestic power
Versatility and adaptability

Usage in Modern Contexts

Maintains traditional meaning
Adapts to new meanings and contexts

Compare with Definitions


A term used to describe a fierce person.
Her Kaduva-like attitude won her many debates.


A Tamil and Malayalam term for tiger or leopard.
The Puli moved silently through the underbrush.


A Malayalam word for tiger.
The Kaduva roamed majestically in the forest.


A metaphor for adaptability.
She changed careers like a Puli, seamlessly and efficiently.


A representation of majesty in South Indian culture.
The king was often likened to a Kaduva in folk tales.


Often used to denote agility and cunning.
In business, he is as shrewd as a Puli.


A symbol of strength and power.
He fought like a Kaduva in the competition.


Used colloquially to describe a fierce individual.
Like approach is evident.


A metaphor for something formidable.
Facing the challenges was like confronting a Kaduva.


Represents versatility in South Indian folklore.
The Puli in the story changed its strategies to survive.


Kaduva (transl. Tiger) is a 2022 Indian Malayalam language masala film directed by Shaji Kailas, written by Jinu V. Abraham and produced by Prithviraj Productions and Magic Frames. It stars Prithviraj Sukumaran in the title role alongside Vivek Oberoi and Samyuktha Menon.


A dog of a medium-sized breed developed in Hungary to herd sheep, having a solid-colored coat of long hair that forms woolly cords.


One of a breed of Hungarian sheepdog with a distinctive thick, corded coat.

Common Curiosities

Are these words interchangeable?

Not always, as they have specific cultural and linguistic contexts.

Does Puli have different meanings?

Puli can mean tiger or leopard, and metaphorically, it denotes agility.

Is Puli a common word in South Indian languages?

Yes, Puli is commonly used in Tamil and Malayalam.

What does Kaduva mean?

Kaduva primarily means "tiger" in Malayalam.

How is Puli used in colloquial speech?

It's used to describe someone as quick or shrewd.

Can Kaduva be used metaphorically?

Yes, it can symbolize strength or fierceness.

What is the cultural significance of Puli?

Puli symbolizes adaptability and cunning in folklore.

Are these words specific to certain regions?

Yes, they are primarily used in South Indian regions.

Can Puli refer to a person's character?

Yes, it can describe someone as cunning or agile.

How is Kaduva pronounced?

It's pronounced as "ka-du-va" with emphasis on the first syllable.

Do Kaduva and Puli appear in literature?

Yes, they're found in various South Indian literary works.

Is Kaduva used in modern language?

Yes, it's used in both traditional and modern contexts.

Is Kaduva associated with any festivals or rituals?

Not typically, but it holds a place in cultural stories.

Can Kaduva be used in a positive context?

Yes, it can denote respect and admiration.

Do these words have the same meaning in different dialects?

Their meanings can slightly vary across dialects.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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