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Word of the Week: Aufbrezeln

When someone is heavily made up, sporting a dramatic hairstyle, and/or wearing flashy clothes, they could be described as “aufgebrezelt,” which has nothing to do with looking like a pretzel.

Essentially, “aufbrezeln” (OW f bray t sell n) means “done up” or “dolled up.” This expression is more often than not used to describe women who’ve taken a lot of time getting ready to go out on a Saturday night.

But it could also be used to describe fancifully dressed and heavily made up stage actors, dancers or drag queens – basically anyone who has spent a lot of time getting ready to look absolutely fabulous, albeit perhaps a tad “over the top,” depending on your point of view regarding style and good taste.

Although the German word for pretzel is “Brezel,” obviously “aufbrezeln” really is only indirectly associated with this soft or crunchy universally beloved snack.

At the same time, “aufbrezeln” is derived from this tasty noun, as it basically means “to get all pretzeled up.” (The German verb for on, as well as – in certain contexts – up, is “auf” – as in “aufsteigen,” or “to climb up,” etc.)

Perhaps the twists and turns made in the pretzel’s dough before it is baked inspired this expression.

Either way, it is a fun, tongue-in-cheek word often used in a lighthearted, jocular fashion, sometimes by exasperated male partners of the women in question spending a lot of time getting “aufgebrezelt.”

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