\ ˈtrēt How to pronounce treat (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from treat


treater noun

Synonyms for treat

Synonyms: Verb

act (toward), be (to), deal (with), handle, serve, use

Synonyms: Noun

delectation, delight, feast, gas [slang], joy, kick, manna, pleasure

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Preliminary reports released Friday from clinicians and state health departments in Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina and Utah confirm and strengthen patterns that individual doctors treating patients have described. Anchorage Daily News, "Lung illness tied to vaping has killed five people, may be a new ‘worrisome’ disease, officials say," 7 Sep. 2019 Two more pet food manufacturers are joining the list of those recalling pig-ear dog treats tied to an outbreak of salmonella that has now stricken 143 people in 35 states. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Widening salmonella outbreak linked to pig-ear dog treats has sickened 143 people in 35 states," 5 Sep. 2019 On top of that already grim statistic, the number of children and teens treated for suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts in the US nearly doubled from 2007 to 2015. Julia Jones, CNN, "Overstressed students in New York could get mental health days excused if this bill passes," 5 Sep. 2019 The department wrote in a news release that police were initially dispatched to a hospital at 5:43 p.m. after receiving a report of a man being treated for gunshot wounds., "Baltimore County police investigating fatal shooting in Dundalk," 4 Sep. 2019 Common conditions treated through eCare include: Cold and flu symptoms; skin conditions; seasonal allergies; urinary tract infections; lower back pain, minor burns, cuts, bumps and scrapes; and pink eye. Naseem S. Miller,, "Hurricane Dorian: List of free telemedicine services for Floridians," 4 Sep. 2019 Gil’s response is by far the best among the five patients treated with the custom cancer vaccines over the past year. San Diego Union-Tribune, "UCSD’s cancer vaccine trial shows range of results at the one-year mark," 3 Sep. 2019 The bonds are punishing the defendant for the charges and treating the defendant as if he has been proven guilty of the offenses. Carol Robinson |, al, "Charges against suspect in shooting death of 4-year-old Jurnee Coleman to proceed to grand jury," 3 Sep. 2019 The four people treated at Harborview Medical Center were in stable condition with minor injuries, Cuerpo told the Seattle Times. Fox News, "Bumbershoot fest barricade collapse in Seattle leaves about 25 injured," 1 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Chef Yia Vang will be cooking up some of the group’s finest produce, Sweet Science Ice Cream will serve the sweet treats, and beverages will come from Bang Brewing, Du Nord Craft Spirits and Solo Vino. Jess Fleming, Twin Cities, "50 years of putting down Urban Roots on St. Paul’s East Side," 5 Sep. 2019 Sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, Polish sausages, and wraps make up most of the menu, with breakfast sandwiches served from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Be sure to ask for the café’s signature banana pudding for a sweet treat after your meal. al, "6 hidden gems to check out for lunch," 28 Aug. 2019 Obviously, no outdoor get-together would be complete without burgers, buns, condiments, and sweet treats to top off the menu. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "Is Walmart Open on the 4th of July in 2019?," 5 June 2019 Other sweet treats included homemade bombolinis fried and filled on the spot, and a local sorbet and gelato cart. Shawn Connell For Christian Oth Studio, Harper's BAZAAR, "Two Haute Couture Looks Were the Centerpiece of This Stunning Wedding in Capri," 17 May 2019 Dacha’s Navy Yard neighbor, Bluejacket, will also have its own assortment of treats for dogs and deals on its reliably good beer selection for humans from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. No cover charges. Washington Post, "11 things to do in the D.C. area this week," 26 Aug. 2019 This year is no different, with a new batch of goodies fresh from the fryer, plenty of sugary treats, creative uses of cheese and of course, cocktails for the 21-plus crowd. Leeanne Griffin,, "What’s new to eat at The Big E for 2019? Chocolate ganache on your cream puffs, cheesy creations, and, yes, lots of deep-fried goodness," 23 Aug. 2019 Following the game, the FCA players gave each visiting player a bag of sweet treats with an encouraging quote and chose one of the British players for the Best Sportsmanship Award. Chip Braungart,, "Charmers Lacrosse Club hosts England team for friendly games," 1 Aug. 2019 Want to get your hands on one of these unique treats? Hannah Chubb,, "Oscar Mayer Debuts Hot Dog-Flavored Ice Cream with Actual Candied Hot Dog Pieces," 1 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about treat

Statistics for treat

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for treat

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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
US : something that tastes good and that is not eaten often


\ ˈtrēt How to pronounce treat (audio) \
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 How to pronounce treat (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!