pretzel

play
noun pret·zel \ˈpret-səl\

Definition of pretzel

  1. :  a brittle or chewy glazed usually salted slender bread often shaped like a loose knot

Origin and Etymology of pretzel

German Brezel, ultimately from Latin brachiatus having branches like arms, from brachium arm — more at brace


First Known Use: 1831


PRETZEL Defined for English Language Learners

pretzel

play
noun pret·zel \ˈpret-səl\

Definition of pretzel for English Language Learners

  • : a long, thin piece of bread that is usually salted and shaped like a knot or stick


PRETZEL Defined for Kids

pretzel

play
noun pret·zel \ˈpret-səl\

Definition of pretzel for Students

  1. :  a brown cracker that is salted and is often shaped like a loose knot

History for 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.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up pretzel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a small amount

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • winning-words-from-the-national-spelling-bee-logo
  • Which is the correct spelling of the winning word from 1988?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!