tamale

noun
ta·​ma·​le | \ tə-ˈmä-lē How to pronounce tamale (audio) \

Definition of tamale

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: cornmeal dough rolled with ground meat or beans seasoned usually with chili, wrapped usually in corn husks, and steamed

Tamale

geographical name
Ta·​ma·​le | \ tä-ˈmä-lā How to pronounce Tamale (audio) \

Definition of Tamale (Entry 2 of 2)

town in northern Ghana population 371,351

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Tamale Has Origins in South America

Hot tamale is sometimes used figuratively, as in our second example, to suggest sexual attractiveness, but it's the word's literal use that puts it in an interesting category. How many English food words can you name that derive from Nahuatl, a group of languages spoken by native peoples of Mexico and Central America? You've probably guessed that "tamale" gives you one; it came to us (by way of Mexican Spanish) from the Nahuatl "tamalli," a word for steamed cornmeal dough. Add to the menu "chili" (from "chīlli," identifying all those fiery peppers); "chocolate" (from "chocolātl," first used for a beverage made from chocolate and water); "guacamole" (from āhuacatl, meaning "avocado," plus mōlli, meaning "sauce"); and "tomato" (from "tomatl"). Top it all off with "chipotle" (a smoked and dried pepper), from "chīlli" and "pōctli" (meaning "something smoked").

Examples of tamale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Food Instead of your classic sit-down menu, Ellen and Casey had a vision of recreating a traditional Mexico City market, complete with stalls of everything from tamales to tostadas. Brooke Porter Katz, Harper's BAZAAR, "Ellen Bennett & Casey Caplowe's Wedding Was Outside-The-Box in Every Way," 14 Feb. 2019 The Enchilada Queen also offers cooking classes for tamales and famous enchiladas. Houston Chronicle, "Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants to try," 10 May 2018 After hours of nonstop dancing, Rob Thomas took his guitar out and performed a late-night jam session while tamales, esquites, and tacos were served up as snacks on the beach—the perfect ending to this beautiful, bohemian wedding. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "Inside Malin Akerman and Jack Donnelly’s Barefoot Wedding on the Beach," 3 Dec. 2018 His typical spread included barbecue, tacos, tamales, pork rinds with hot sauce, with a healthy complement of blue bell ice cream and Klondike bars. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Read the Full Transcript of George P. Bush's Eulogy for His Grandfather, George H.W. Bush," 6 Dec. 2018 Salsa and tamales past discard date found in walk-in refrigerator. Robert Gundran, azcentral, "Restaurant with no sneeze guard on salsa bar among this week's violations," 11 July 2018 Trace forehead pattern on a corn husk or tamale wrapper, scaling up or down as necessary; cut out. Country Living Staff, Country Living, "40+ Halloween Templates for Your Craftiest October Yet," 5 Sep. 2018 Efforts such as the brisket tamales confirmed a hunger for marrying quality barbecue with Mexican staples – something other craft barbecue joints were experimenting with, as well. Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "A Killen’s Tex-Mex restaurant in Houston?," 12 June 2018 The pork tamales come in a choice of mild, habanero or Hatch green chile. Bud Kennedy, star-telegram, "This Grapevine restaurant makes a '100 best' list — with tamales | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 26 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tamale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tamale

Noun

1854, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tamale

Noun

Mexican Spanish tamales, plural of tamal tamale, from Nahuatl tamalli steamed cornmeal dough

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Dictionary Entries near tamale

tam

tamability

Tamachek

tamale

Tamale

Tamalpais, Mount

Taman'

Statistics for tamale

Last Updated

22 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tamale

The first known use of tamale was in 1854

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More Definitions for tamale

tamale

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tamale

: a Mexican food that consists of seasoned ground meat or beans rolled in cornmeal, wrapped in a corn husk, and steamed

tamale

noun
ta·​ma·​le | \ tə-ˈmä-lē How to pronounce tamale (audio) \

Kids Definition of tamale

: seasoned ground meat rolled in cornmeal, wrapped in corn husks, and steamed

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More from Merriam-Webster on tamale

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tamale

Spanish Central: Translation of tamale

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tamale

Comments on tamale

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