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

Definition of treacle

1 chiefly British

a : molasses
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

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 Not that there’s any of the kind of treacle that this description might imply. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "Pamela Adlon's Better Things Is Back and Better Than Ever," 27 Feb. 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 Her un-self-conscious conviction, and pure pleasure, cut right through the prevailing slow stream of treacle. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Hip-Hopping With the Stars in ‘Half Time’," 14 June 2018 Farewell shows tend to be slathered with treacle, full of disingenuous praise. Jack Dickey,, "Mike Francesa Bids Farewell to WFAN, Sports Talk Radio in Fitting Fashion," 15 Dec. 2017 Spielberg is in complete control of the material and even manages to tamp down his customary treacle until the movie’s almost over. Christopher Orr, The Atlantic, "The Post Is Well-Crafted but Utterly Conventional," 22 Dec. 2017 The sentimentality of it all threatens to slip into treacle, but the directors and their cast walk the line with enough restraint to strike the right balance. Theodore P. Mahne,, "JPAS' 'Tuck Everlasting' a charming story just right for holidays," 12 Dec. 2017

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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Last Updated

20 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for treacle

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

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More Definitions for treacle



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

More from Merriam-Webster on treacle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with treacle Encyclopedia article about treacle

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