The Preisach approach is applied to model ferroelectric pinched (or constricted) loops. Starting from the existence of distributed switchable dipolar defects in the material and a corresponding distribution function, an analytical expression for the resulting ferroelectric loop is obtained. The corresponding hysteresis shape is indeed showing a clear pinching. Considerations about defect distribution expression and ways to characterize it from the loop are also made. It is finally suggested that such a description can be applied to any system exhibiting a pinched loop. (C) 2000 American Institute of Physics. [S0003-6951(00)02651-6].