Definition of metate in English:


(also metate stone)

Pronunciation /məˈtätā/ /məˈtɑteɪ/


  • (in Central America) a flat or slightly hollowed oblong stone on which materials such as grain and cocoa are ground using a smaller stone.

    ‘she ground the corn on a metate’
    • ‘There was a long tradition of amazing stonework in ancient Costa Rica, which includes spectacular ‘flying panel’ metates [corn-grinding flats] and other objects carved of basalt.’
    • ‘Ground or pecked stone tools include hammerstones, anvils, cobble manos, metates, and a possible net sinker.’
    • ‘In indigenous villages, women often make the tortillas the traditional way by grinding corn with a rounded pestle on a flat lava stone called a piedra or metate and baking the flat corn disks on a dry, clay platter known as a comal.’
    • ‘As we walked on, we came to a mesa with slabs of rock and about a hundred metates.’
    • ‘With stone roller on metate, she grinds the corn, then grinds again.’
    • ‘Ubelaker has associated such joint modifications in the remains of prehistoric Ecuadorian women with corn-grinding using a two-handed mano and slab metate.’


From American Spanish, from Nahuatl métatl.