Origin of tamaleMexican Spanish tamal, plural tamales ; from Nahuatl tamalli
Origin of tamaleFrom American Spanish tamales, pl. of tamal, tamale, from Nahuatl tamalli.
The Standard Spanish singular is tamal, and thus some proscribe tamale as an incorrect back-formation, preferring to use tamal as the English singular; note however that tamale exists in Spanish dialect. The similarity of tamale to the ancestral Nahuatl tamalli is not generally cited in support of the English usage of tamale.