[pret-suh l]


a crisp, dry biscuit, usually in the form of a knot or stick, salted on the outside.
a larger version of this, made of soft, chewy bread dough.

Origin of pretzel

1815–25, Americanism; < German Pretzel, variant of Bretzel; Old High German brizzila < Medieval Latin bracellus bracelet Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for pretzel

cookie, biscuit, pretzel, bun, rusk, saltine, hardtack

Examples from the Web for pretzel

Contemporary Examples of pretzel

  • Supporters will cheer because he's not turning himself into a pretzel for the right like he did in 2008.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Getting Serious About the 2012 GOP

    Mark McKinnon

    June 26, 2011

  • Romney needs to just be who he is and quit trying to turn himself into a pretzel for the right, as he did last time around.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Loosen Up, Mitt!

    Mark McKinnon

    June 1, 2011

  • If he stays true to his tweets, pretzel sandwiches will be on the menu.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Buzziest Pop-Up Restaurants

    Tien Nguyen

    February 16, 2011

  • Weintraub says, grinning his boyish grin and polishing off a pretzel.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Confessions of a Hollywood Republican

    Nicole LaPorte

    April 1, 2010

  • Indeed, Fieri seems to have been gunning for his big moment since he opened his own pretzel cart at 16.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Trailer Park Gourmet

    Rachel Syme

    November 10, 2009

Historical Examples of pretzel

  • He was gettin' himself as twisted as a pretzel, when Old Hickory breaks in.


    Sewell Ford

  • That's how I got to the car, and was warmly greeted by Pretzel.

    Motor Matt's Mystery

    Stanley R. Matthews

  • "Don't forget to leave my stuff where I told you, Pretzel," he called.

    Motor Matt's Mystery

    Stanley R. Matthews

  • Jo opened the bag, fished out a pretzel and began to nibble it.

    The Four Corners Abroad

    Amy Ella Blanchard

  • You giants must know that you haven't the chance of a pretzel at a Dutch wedding.

    The Gray Mask

    Wadsworth Camp

British Dictionary definitions for pretzel



a brittle savoury biscuit, in the form of a knot or stick, glazed and salted on the outside, eaten esp in Germany and the US

Word Origin for pretzel

C19: from German, from Old High German brezitella; perhaps related to Medieval Latin bracellus bracelet, from Latin bracchium arm
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for pretzel

1851, from German Prezel, also Brezel, from Middle High German brezel, prezel, from Old High German brezitella, brecedela, from Medieval Latin *brachitella, presumably a kind of biscuit baked in the shape of folded arms (cf. Italian bracciatella, Old Provençal brassadel), diminutive of Latin bracchiatus "with branches, with arms," from bracchium "arm" (see brace (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper