zwie·​back | \ ˈswē-ˌbak How to pronounce zwieback (audio) , ˈswī-, ˈzwē-, ˈzwī- How to pronounce zwieback (audio) , -ˌbäk \

Definition of zwieback

: a usually sweetened bread enriched with eggs that is baked and then sliced and toasted until dry and crisp

Crunch on the History of Zwieback

In ages past, keeping food fresh for any length of time required a lot of ingenuity, especially when one needed to carry comestibles on a long journey. One of the solutions people came up with for keeping bread edible for traveling was to bake it twice, thereby drying it and slowing the spoiling process. The etymology of zwieback reflects this baker's trick; it was borrowed from a German word that literally means "twice baked." Nowadays, zwieback is not just used as a foodstuff—the texture of the dried bread makes zwieback a suitable teething device for infants. Incidentally, other twice-baked goods whose origins reflect that fact include biscuit and biscotti, both of which come from phrases meaning "twice-cooked bread."

Examples of zwieback in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Like Eastern European zwieback and crisp rusks, crumpets are mostly eaten as a twice-baked bread -- the rounds are split and toasted before serving. Jen Rose Smith, CNN, 4 May 2022

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

First Known Use of zwieback

1863, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for zwieback

German, literally, twice baked, from zwie- twice (from Old High German zwi-) + backen to bake, from Old High German bahhan — more at twi-, bake

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best toasters.

Learn More About zwieback

Time Traveler for zwieback

Time Traveler

The first known use of zwieback was in 1863

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About zwieback

Dictionary Entries Near zwieback

Zwickau prophet



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for zwieback

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Zwieback.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for zwieback


zwie·​back | \ ˈswē-ˌbak How to pronounce zwieback (audio) , ˈswī- \

Kids Definition of zwieback

: a usually sweetened bread made with eggs that is baked and then sliced and toasted until dry and crisp


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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