me·​ta·​te mə-ˈtä-tē How to pronounce metate (audio)
: a stone with a concave upper surface used as the lower millstone for grinding grains and especially corn

Examples of metate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Pasquier designed the delicate props, which include tiny metates, stone tools used to grind corn in Mexican food preparation. Manuel Mendoza, Dallas News, 20 Apr. 2023 For generations before the arrival of the mills, the grinding was done by hand on a sloped stone known as a metate. Joe Ray, Wired, 24 Feb. 2022 When the ingredients were properly roasted, Santiago transferred them to the metate for grinding. Michael A. Gardiner, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Jan. 2023 The flat stone was most likely a metate, or grinding stone, placed there as part of a burial ritual. Rachel Monroe, The New Yorker, 3 Oct. 2022 Nearby rests a portable metate (mortar and pestle) that once belonged to her grandmother. Los Angeles Times, 6 July 2022 Don’t expect a discus of corn — these take their shape from a metate (a stone Mesoamerican tool for grinding corn). Cesar Hernandez, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Aug. 2022 Highlights include a statute of a Zapotec god of corn; a molcajete, or traditional Mexican mortar made from volcanic stone; a metate, or stone tool used for processing corn; and a pichancha, or clay strainer, according to a statement. Emily Williams, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Mar. 2022 The raspadas take shape on a metate, a Mesoamerican tool used to mill corn. Cesar Hernandez, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Mar. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'metate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Spanish, from Nahuatl metatl

First Known Use

1625, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of metate was in 1625

Dictionary Entries Near metate

Cite this Entry

“Metate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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