Origin: Ger brezel from Old High German brezitella from Midieval Latin an unverified form brachiatellum, diminutive of an unverified form brachiatum, biscuit baked inch(es) form of crossed arms from Classical Latin brachium, an arm: see brace
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Origin: German Brezel, Pretzel, from Middle High German brēzel, prēzel, from Old High German brezitella, from Medieval Latin *brāchitellum, diminutive of Latin bracchiātus, branched, from bracchium, arm, from Greek brakhīōn, upper arm; see mregh-u- in Indo-European roots.Word History: The German word Brezel or Pretzel, which was borrowed into English (being first recorded in American English in 1856) goes back to the assumed Medieval Latin word *brāchitellum. This would accord with the story that a monk living in France or northern Italy first created the knotted shape of a pretzel, even though this type of biscuit had been enjoyed by the Romans. The monk wanted to symbolize arms folded in prayer, hence the name derived from Latin bracchiātus, “having branches,” itself from bracchium, “branch, arm.”