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

Recent Examples of pretzel from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pretzel'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of pretzel

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


PRETZEL Defined for English Language Learners

pretzel

play
noun

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.



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