Reader Mike writes in with this interesting tidbit on where the word “pretzel” may have come from:
When I lived in Germany, there was a little bakery at the bottom of the hill that made fresh pretzels every day – and this being the South, they were lye pretzels. Regarding the origin of the term, there is a Swabian belief that it derives from the local variant word for bread, coupled with the dialectical diminutive so beloved by Southern Germans – meaning “little bread”. Brädsl and similar variants abound. As to the truth of it, I can’t say, but it *feels* more like the truth than the bracelet explanation, rightly or wrongly.