ta·​ma·​le tə-ˈmä-lē How to pronounce tamale (audio)
: cornmeal dough rolled with ground meat or beans seasoned usually with chili, wrapped usually in corn husks, and steamed

Examples of tamale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Family dinners featuring housemade tamales and chicken fajitas are a common affair at this East Sacramento restaurant, opened in 2021 by Maria Estela Munoz Martinez. 5100 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 662-7099. Benjy Egel, Sacramento Bee, 9 Apr. 2024 There will even be a window where guests can watch the staff flip and press freshly homemade corn tortillas and tamales. Lily O'Neill, The Denver Post, 2 Apr. 2024 Originally from Texas, Martindale came bearing homemade pico plus tamales like the ones his step-grandma made for holidays. Julie Seabaugh, Los Angeles Times, 21 Mar. 2024 Customers have been known to drive 40 minutes to claim their spot in the busy dining room and indulge in the dry-aged brisket tamales, Flintstones-size beef ribs, and generous helpings of luscious creamed corn and potato salad. Kayla Stewart, Bon Appétit, 23 Feb. 2024 Their sadness became my ignition to try to make tamales alone. Jessica Perez, Los Angeles Times, 22 Dec. 2023 This year, the medal was given to The Rez: An Urban Eatery for its chocolate mole tamale and jackfruit taco on fresh blue corn tortilla. Bahar Anooshahr, The Arizona Republic, 27 Feb. 2024 But cooking tamales and pupusas during their Latin American-centric dinners inspired the chefs to use Lucina’s menu to tell the rich history and stories behind these types of dishes as well as draw from their own upbringings. Brittany Anas, The Denver Post, 13 Feb. 2024 Check out the Saturday morning farmers market (the sushi, arepas and tamales are excellent!). The San Diego Union-Tribune Staff, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Dec. 2023

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1854, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tamale was in 1854


Dictionary Entries Near tamale

Cite this Entry

“Tamale.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tamale. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ta·​ma·​le tə-ˈmäl-ē How to pronounce tamale (audio)
: cornmeal dough rolled with ground meat or beans seasoned usually with chili, wrapped in corn husks, and steamed

Geographical Definition


geographical name

Ta·​ma·​le tä-ˈmä-lā How to pronounce Tamale (audio)
town in northern Ghana population 371,351

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