What does this phrase mean: "more twisted than a neurotic pretzel"?

I remember reading an article in cnet.com with the above phrase used in the first sentence.

I can understand the phrase "twisted as a pretzel" as pretzels are twisted by design. But, what does "neurotic" have to do with this phrase? If someone could add the origin details too, then it would be even sweeter.

2 Answers 2


There is no origin; this person came up with this phrase.

Twisted has a second meaning of "mentally disturbed and unsound." If someone laughs at death, you could say they are "twisted."

Someone who is neurotic is a little twisted because neurosis are types of mental illness.

So this phrase uses two meanings of the word twisted -- the world is both bent out of shape AND crazy.


I agree with Jeremy, the CNET journalist came up with this phrase. The simpler "more twisted than a pretzel" can be found in 1977's The Death Merchant: The Kronos Plot:

The Death Merchant, running on a course more twisted than a pretzel, felt a bullet pluck at his flying shirt.

1971's The new racism:

What you think is on the level is crookeder, brothers and sisters, than a pretzel which is most crooked.

And "more twists than a pretzel" in a 1956 The Reporter:

My God, Mort, we've got more twists than a pretzel. Basically it's a simple story and an old story, and that's why it's always been good. Prince and Commoner. Cinderella. The Swan. Only in this one, the girl's an actress. Very fresh.

World petroleum from 1954:

hese minor hazards and inconveniences were incurred in carrying out two oil exploration surveys that covered not only 80000 square miles of humid jungle, but also some international ramifications as twisted as a pretzel.

1950's Do evil in return by Margaret Millar:

He's got more angles than a pretzel and not one of them's ever paid off. Money. Money, that's what I want. Just once before I die I'd like some money!"

A 1940 Esquire:

But don't get it into your head that a conger is an easy catch, as the smallest of them can twist a fellow up in more shapes than a pretzel bender could.

A 1937 Aviation week and space technology:

since it was made over a 1443 mile course with more bends in it than a pretzel.

1927's Mattock by James Stevens:

And the way she walked nobody could helped noticing that Junie Tadousac had more curves than a pretzel

1921's American garage and auto dealer:

He bet heez as crookid as a pretzel.

1921's The Marriotts and the Powells: a tribal chronicle:

That man's as crooked as a pretzel, Fan, and this baiting his trap with Diantha is his pet scheme!"

He bet heez as crookid as a pretzel.

Good Company from 1881:

The maid wears a coarse woolen gown of the simplest make, hair screwed into tight braids, twisted like the national pretzel and held in place by skewer-like hairpins of various rust tints, a tidy gingham apron, thick dark stockings and felt slippers.

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