tamale

noun ta·ma·le \ tə-ˈmä-lē \
Updated on: 10 Dec 2017

Definition of tamale

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

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Recent Examples of tamale from the Web

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.

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").

Origin and Etymology of tamale

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


Tamale

geographical name Ta·ma·le \ tä-ˈmä-lā \

Definition of Tamale

town in northern Ghana population 371,351

TAMALE Defined for English Language Learners

tamale

noun

Definition of tamale for English Language Learners

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


TAMALE Defined for Kids

tamale

noun ta·ma·le \ tə-ˈmä-lē \

Definition of tamale for Students

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

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