trea·​cle | \ ˈtrē-kəl How to pronounce treacle (audio) \

Definition of treacle

1 chiefly British
b : a blend of molasses, invert sugar, and corn syrup used as syrup

called also golden syrup

2 : something (such as a tone of voice) heavily sweet and cloying
3 : a medicinal compound formerly in wide use as a remedy against poison

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Did You Know?

The long history of "treacle" begins in ancient Greece. The Greek word thēriakos, meaning "of a wild animal," came from "thērion" ("wild animal"). Since wild animals are often known to bite, these words gave rise to thēriakē, meaning "antidote against a poisonous bite." Latin borrowed thēriakē as "theriaca," and the word eventually entered Anglo-French - and then Middle English - as "triacle." The senses of "treacle" that refer to molasses developed from the earlier "antidote" sense. The "molasses" sense, in turn, was extended to give us a word for things excessively sweet or sentimental.

Examples of treacle in a Sentence

The book is ruined by all the treacle about his childhood.
Recent Examples on the Web Just remember the treacle tart to go with your cuppa. Rochelle O'gorman, The Christian Science Monitor, "Put the kettle on and settle in with a fresh batch of British TV shows," 2 Oct. 2020 Fake news then meant rumours that the plague could be cured by sitting in a sewer, eating decade-old treacle or ingesting arsenic. The Economist, "Return of the paranoid style Fake news is fooling more conservatives than liberals. Why?," 6 June 2020 To be clear, Marc, who is allergic to treacle, would never have cast himself as a do-gooder. Susan Dominus, New York Times, "20 Seconds That Make These Dreary Times Go Faster," 21 Mar. 2020 It’s no surprise at all that the Suburgatory star is able to use her trademark sarcasm to cut through occasional treacle. Daniel Fienberg, Billboard, "'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist': TV Review," 8 Jan. 2020 But without a credible alternative to replace the ACA protection for preexisting conditions, the ad amounted to manipulative treacle. Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, "Is Josh Hawley For Real?," 25 July 2019 According to a new report in The Sunday Times, Princess Diana once let Prince Harry have a treacle tart for breakfast. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Diana Was "Easy to Cook For" & Let Harry Have Treacle Tarts for Breakfast," 14 Apr. 2019 The challenges include tartes tatin, treacle tarts and a Showstopper tart. Ed Stockly,, "Friday's TV highlights: 'Quantico' on ABC," 29 June 2018 Join Mary, Paul, Sue and Mel in the tent along with 12 amateur bakers who will vie for star baker in a season filled with challenges that include bagels, strudel, treacle tarts and choux gateaux. Mary Cadden, USA TODAY, "Week in entertainment: 'Great British Baking Show' and 'Marvel's Luke Cage' return," 16 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'treacle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of treacle

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for treacle

Middle English triacle, from Anglo-French, from Latin theriaca, from Greek thēriakē antidote against a poisonous bite, from feminine of thēriakos of a wild animal, from thērion wild animal, diminutive of thēr wild animal — more at fierce

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The first known use of treacle was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Treacle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for treacle


How to pronounce treacle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of treacle

: a blend of molasses, sugar, and corn syrup
: something that is annoying because it is too sentimental


trea·​cle | \ ˈtrē-kəl How to pronounce treacle (audio) \

Medical Definition of treacle

: a medicinal compound formerly in wide use as a remedy against poison

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