Pop Culture dictionary

pretzel logic

[pret-suhl loj-ik]

What does pretzel logic mean?

Pretzel logic is an expression used to describe someone’s “twisted reasoning.”

Related words

per se, 🥨 Pretzel emoji, too much sauce, covfefe, ad hoc, Godwin’s law, Poe’s Law, Q.E.D.

Where does pretzel logic come from?

A classic pretzel is circular, full of holes, and twists in on itself—just like faulty reasoning. Hence the (delicious) expression, pretzel logic. The term is evidenced by at least 1967 in American Opinion, a magazine of the far-right, anticommunist John Birch Society.

Pretzel logic is used to describe inconsistent, illogical thinking that, once scrutinized, doesn’t stand up. It’s similar to the term illogic.

Indeed, the phrase pretzel logic frequently appears in political contexts, used in an effort to call out opponents’ logical fallacies or to characterize someone’s twisted line of reasoning or justifications.

The term spread in the 1980–90s, but it is closely associated with the acclaimed 1974 album and title track Pretzel Logic by rock band Steely Band. The song is, apparently, about reckoning with the passage of time.

Examples of pretzel logic

With your pretzel logic no animal should ever be neutered or spayed. All those puppies and kittens deserve to live a full life too.
@jeanfin46831889, March 2019
Claiming a dessert didn’t exist until it had a published recipe to validate it is pretzel logic.
Keys Weekly, February 2019
Joe Liccar / The Examiner- Gatehouse News Service

Who uses pretzel logic?

Arguments that are convoluted or seen as such are popularly characterized as pretzel logic, especially in political contexts.

Puns abound around pretzel logic, especially in food contexts, and the phrase has been used for grabby headlines.

Additionally, searches for pretzel logic quickly lead to all things Steely Dan.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of pretzel logic like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of pretzel logic that will help our users expand their word mastery.