\ˈtrēt \
treated; treating; treats

Definition of treat 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to deal with in speech or writing : expound

b : to present or represent artistically

c : to deal with : handle food is plentiful and treated with imagination— Cecil Beaton

2a : to bear oneself toward : use treat a horse cruelly

b : to regard and deal with in a specified manner usually used with as treat the matter as confidential

3a : to provide with free food, drink, or entertainment they treated us to lunch

b : to provide with enjoyment or gratification

4 : to care for or deal with medically or surgically treat a disease

5 : to act upon with some agent especially to improve or alter treat a metal with acid

intransitive verb

1 : to pay another's expenses (as for a meal or drink) especially as a compliment or as an expression of regard or friendship

2 : to discuss terms of accommodation or settlement : negotiate

3 : to deal with a matter especially in writing : discourse usually used with of a book treating of conservation



Definition of treat (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the act of providing another with free food, drink, or entertainment dinner will be my treat

b : an entertainment given without expense to those invited

2 : an especially unexpected source of joy, delight, or amusement seeing her again was a treat

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Other Words from treat


treater noun

Examples of treat in a Sentence


The author treats this issue in the next chapter. This situation must be treated with great care. I try to treat everyone equally. She treats the horse cruelly. They treated me like a member of their family. I was treated like a queen. My parents still treat me like a child. Try to treat everyone as an equal. Young people should always treat their elders with respect. Let's go out to dinner. I'll treat.


We took the kids to the water park as a special treat. cookies and other tasty treats She rewarded the dog with a treat.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

It should be treated as seriously as any other decision that could save a life. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "Don’t wait: the case for giving sooner rather than later," 27 Nov. 2018 Because Kosovo’s tourism industry, outside of diaspora Albanians, is minuscule, Pristina might be one of the few places in the world where you aren’t treated as a tourist. Sarah Souli, Condé Nast Traveler, "Kosovo Is an All-Night Party—And Shows No Signs of Slowing Down," 26 Oct. 2018 As frank as her recollections of childbirth are, Knightley is arguably even more open about how she has been treated by men as a woman and mother in her industry. Marci Robin, Allure, "Keira Knightley Pens Powerful Essay on the Realities of Childbirth and Sexism in Hollywood," 6 Oct. 2018 The Pit Is a Nervy Place On any given MotoAmerica weekend you’ll be treated to your fill of racing with Superbikes, Supersport, Junior Cup, Stock 1000 and Twins. Mitchell Nicholson, Popular Mechanics, "The Great American Motorcycle Racing Revival," 7 Sep. 2018 If it's not treated properly, the dog flu comes with a 10 percent mortality rate, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "The Dog Flu Is Spreading Across the Country for the First Time In Years," 16 Aug. 2018 Veronica walks in and is treated to some yelling, too. Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, ""Riverdale" Recap Season 3 Episode 5: Can Archie Escape From a Teenage Fight Club?!," 15 Nov. 2018 There are the witches, too, and werewolves made familiar by the mystery writer Tony Hillerman’s best sellers: malevolent spirits that old-time locals treat as a fact of life. Guy Trebay, Condé Nast Traveler, "In the Heart of Navajo Lands," 19 Oct. 2018 Instead of settling on a traditional dessert spread, let guests decorate their own sweet Halloween treats this year. Elle Decor Editors, ELLE Decor, "20 Halloween Party Ideas So Sophisticated They’ll Scare You," 18 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Timed trials of Xbox One games tend to be exclusive treats for XBLG subscribers. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "As PUBG for PS4 looms, Xbox unofficially responds: have the game for free," 7 Nov. 2018 Keep both team pecan pie and fans of fruit ones happy with this two-in-one treat. Woman's Day Test Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Cranberry-Pear Pecan Crumb Pie," 24 Oct. 2018 Cher admits that sometimes on film sets, she's binged on unhealthy treats from craft services. Miranda Siwak, Good Housekeeping, "What Cher Actually Eats in a Day to Stay So Unbelievably Fit," 22 Oct. 2018 The candy store sells treats from the '50s through the '90s, and offers a wide variety of collectible Pez dispensers. Becky Bracken, Real Estate News and Advice |®, "'Pawn Stars' Star Chumlee Cuts Price on His Las Vegas Party Pad," 2 Oct. 2018 Mike Biegger, a 15-year employee of Dipped in Chocolate, said sweet treats are becoming the new main course at the fair famous for its deep-fried corndogs and pork chops on a stick. Talia Kirkland, Fox News, "Iowa State Fair's strangest food this year could be cookie dough spaghetti," 15 Aug. 2018 Satisfy your sweet tooth and indulge in these bite-sized chocolate treats from Meg Hall. Alexis Jones, Redbook, "The Best Halloween Food Ideas for Your Adult Gathering," 2 Aug. 2018 The dolphins are trained to locate mines and mark them for disposal, and in return get praise and fish treats. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "U.S. Navy Dolphins Hunt Mines During RIMPAC Exercise," 31 July 2018 Also go for: The labyrinth of stocked shelves at Powell’s Books, flights of beer at BridgePort Brewpub, and all the sweet treats from Voodoo or Blue Star Donuts. Condé Nast Traveler, "8 Most Haunted Cities In America and Why You Should Visit," 18 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'treat.' 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 treat


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2


1651, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for treat


Middle English treten, from Anglo-French treter, traiter, traitier, from Latin tractare to drag about, handle, deal with, frequentative of trahere to drag, pull

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Statistics for treat

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for treat

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

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More Definitions for treat



English Language Learners Definition of treat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to deal with or think about (something) especially in a particular way

: to think of and act toward (someone or something) in a specified way

: to pay for someone's food, drink, or entertainment



English Language Learners Definition of treat (Entry 2 of 2)

: an occurrence in which you pay for someone's food, drink, or entertainment

: something pleasant or amusing that is unusual or unexpected

: something that tastes good and that is not eaten often


\ˈtrēt \
treated; treating

Kids Definition of treat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to handle, deal with, use, or act toward in a usually stated way Treat this as secret. … “Don't you think that is a cruel way to treat Wanda?” …— Eleanor Estes, The Hundred Dresses

2 : to pay for the food or entertainment of I'll treat you to dinner.

3 : to give medical or surgical care to : use medical care on The patient was treated for fever. Doctors sometimes treat cancer with drugs.

4 : to expose to some action (as of a chemical) Gardeners treat soil with lime.



Kids Definition of treat (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an often unexpected or unusual source of pleasure or amusement The day at the park was a treat.

2 : a food that tastes very good and is not eaten very often

3 : an instance of paying for someone's food or entertainment Dinner is my treat.

\ˈtrēt \

Medical Definition of treat 

: to care for or deal with medically or surgically : deal with by medical or surgical means treated their diseases treats a patient

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More from Merriam-Webster on treat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with treat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for treat

Spanish Central: Translation of treat

Nglish: Translation of treat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of treat for Arabic Speakers

Comments on treat

What made you want to look up treat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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