German Brezel, ultimately from Latin brachiatus having branches like arms, from brachium arm — more at brace
First Known Use: circa 1838
PRETZEL Defined for Kids
Definition of PRETZEL for Kids
: a brown cracker that is salted and is often shaped like a loose knot
Word History of PRETZEL
Pretzels have been known in the United States since as early as the 1830s, when the word pretzel (borrowed from German Brezel) first turns up in writing. In Germany, though, both the hard, knot-shaped bread and the word for it are many centuries older, going back to medieval German brezitela. The word is ultimately a borrowing from Latin brachiatus, “having branches like arms.” Twisted pastries such as pretzels must have been so called because they suggested a pair of folded arms.