Definitions

from The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A stone block with a shallow concave surface, used with a mano for grinding corn or other grains.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A flat stone with a slightly concave surface, used with another stone (a mano) for grinding maize or other grains.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A flat or somewhat hollowed stone upon which grain or other food is ground, by means of a smaller stone or pestle.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A primitive hand-mill of stone, usually on three, formerly also on four, legs of the same block. In ancient times the Mexican metate was often elaborately carved, whereas the Peruvian batan is a rude slab. The metate is in common use in the North American Southwest.

Etymologies

American Spanish, from Nahuatl metlatl.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From American Spanish metate, from Classical Nahuatl metlatlĀ ("grinding stone"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In rural Mexico, and among very traditional cooks, the metate is still used to grind corn for home made tortillas, which taste so much better than the commercial variety.

    The Mexican Kitchen, Heart Of The Home: Part I - Cooking Equipment, Modern And Traditional

  • I still wince whenever Roberto reminds me that for centuries, the process of making mole culminated not with the whiz of the blender among the most useful tools in the modern Mexican kitchen, but with painstaking grinding on a shallow, rudimentary stone mortar called a metate.

    Holy-Moly Lobster Mole

  • Late that day, Hannah knelt beside the large, flat stone called a metate, grinding cornmeal.

    The Pride of Hannah Wade

  • The metate is a sort of little table, hewn out of the basalt, with four little feet, and its surface is curved from the ends to the middle.

    Anahuac : or, Mexico and the Mexicans, Ancient and Modern

  • The metate was a three-legged stone about two feet in length and one in breadth, slightly hollowed out in the center; grain was ground in this by rubbing with a smaller stone.

    History of California

  • A 'metate' stands in a corner for grinding corn, surrounded by water filters, irons, blown glass bottles, storage containers, tools and coffee grinders.

    La Hacienda de Nogueras in Comala, Colima

  • A few rude implements of furniture are in the shed: a "metate" on which the boiled maize is ground for the "tortilla" cakes; some "ollas" (pots) of red earthenware; dishes of the calabash; a rude hatchet or two; a

    The Rifle Rangers

  • The lady uses a "metate", flat volcanic stone and grinding stone with both hands to get the "masa" dough.

    WN.com - Articles related to Independence Day in Surf City USA

  • Imagine, it can contain 30, 40, or more ingredients, every one toasted on a comal and ground on a metate -- at least that's the way it was done in the old days!

    Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

  • I did not find a flat stone that might have served as a metate.

    Bird Cloud

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