zwie·​back ˈswē-ˌbak How to pronounce zwieback (audio)
ˈzwī- How to pronounce zwieback (audio)
: a usually sweetened bread enriched with eggs that is baked and then sliced and toasted until dry and crisp

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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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'zwieback.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1863, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of zwieback was in 1863


Dictionary Entries Near zwieback

Cite this Entry

“Zwieback.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


zwie·​back ˈswē-ˌbak How to pronounce zwieback (audio) ˈswī- How to pronounce zwieback (audio)
: a usually sweet bread made with eggs that is baked and then sliced and toasted until dry and crisp
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