Definition of pretzel
: 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
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
Definition of pretzel for Students
: 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).