I was at a get together recently. A Tamil iady addressed her husband as “Aththaan”. I was pleasantly surprised. Nowadays, almost no Tamil woman address her husband by that word.
The actual meaning of “Aththaan” is either he is her dad’s sister’s son OR mom’s brother’s son. That word always has a romantic connotation in Tamil Nadu.
When some girl says, fondly, he is my aththaan , it is understood he is the guy she intends to marry.
In Tamil culture, a girl can legally marry her dad’s sister’s son OR mom’s brother’s son. I know it will be disgusting to our North Indian readers. Actually, 50 years ago 70% of the Tamil marriages were within close relatives. My mom and dad are related. My brother married his aunt’s daughter. No, I did not marry any of my cousins. I married an outsider.
I asked that lady in that get together if she and her husband are related before marriage. She said no. Still she addressed her husband as "aththaan".
So many romantic songs in Tamil movies with that word. For example:
Aththaan varuvaga. Oru mutham koduppaga (Aththaan will come. He will give me a kiss).
Aththaan en Aththaan. Avar ennaithaan. Eppadi solvenadi (Aththaan he is my Aththaan. How can I say what he did with me.)
Kulungum mundhanai sirikkum aththaanai viratuvathenadiyo (Why the shaking loose end of your saree is chasing out this Aththaan)
Akkaluku Valaigappu. Aththaan mugathiley punsirippu (Baby shower ceremony for elder sister. Aththaan’s face is full of smile.)
There is a dialogue in a Tamil movie (Bangalore Naatkal). A guy is telling his close associate what kind of wife he wants. One of his condition is the girl should address him as Aththaan after marriage.