\ 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

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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

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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

In her clinic, she's helped treat patients whose lives are falling apart, all because of vaping. NBC News, "Vaping 101: What to know about e-cigs, addiction and illnesses," 17 Sep. 2019 Considered very conservative, Saied is opposed to treating men and women equally in inheritance issues, a proposal of the deceased leader Caid Essebsi that never made it into law. Washington Post, "Jailed tycoon and professor in Tunisia’s presidential runoff," 17 Sep. 2019 The trout and chubs will forage and lounge in a sanctuary of potable and treated water contoured with pools, riffles and waterfalls designed by biologists at Stillwater Sciences, a consulting firm. Los Angeles Times, "South Gate charts new course to rear native fish that thrived before L.A.’s explosive growth," 17 Sep. 2019 Vector was founded in 1974 and works to develop tools to prevent, treat and diagnose infectious diseases, according to the facility’s website. Char Adams,, "Explosion Reported at Russian Lab Carrying Dangerous Viruses Like Ebola and Smallpox," 17 Sep. 2019 Furthermore, treating each event like a worldwide phenomenon might lead to disappointment if the announcements don’t lead to shock and awe. Patrick Lucas Austin, Time, "What Apple Risks By Doing Momentous Events Without Momentous News," 16 Sep. 2019 Read more on how Alabama treats its mothers at Anna Claire Vollers |, al, "Alabama lacks workplace protections for moms who want to breastfeed," 16 Sep. 2019 The old hip was infected and doctors had to remove it and treat the lingering infection in his body before installing the new one. Henry Schulman,, "Giants’ Yastrzemski goes home to Boston remembering his best coach: His dad," 16 Sep. 2019 In the balance between trick or treat, this is definitely all treat. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Jenny Slate to face Stage Fright in first stand-up comedy special at Netflix," 16 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As a special treat to royal fans, among the nine pictures of Harry included in the affectionate post, Meghan shared a previously-unseen photo from their 4-month-old son Archie‘s christening day. Stephanie Petit,, "Meghan Markle Shares Never-Before-Seen Archie Photo in Sweet Birthday Message to Prince Harry," 15 Sep. 2019 Fall also brings a special treat for the fish, and consequently for the fishermen, as all the countless fry-size gizzard shad hatched in spring grow to edible size and begin to feed on plankton at the surface as the water cools. Frank Sargeant, al, "Fry-size shad provide tasty treat for bass and anglers," 15 Sep. 2019 The semi finals of America's Got Talent continued Wednesday night, and fans of the show got a special treat when Tokio Myers joined forces with rock royalty. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Tokio Myers Joins Forces With the Police's Stewart Copeland on 'America's Got Talent': Watch," 11 Sep. 2019 As a special treat for Courier Journal readers, Carmichael curated a playlist of music from some of his favorite performers appearing at Hometown Rising. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Check out this Hometown Rising playlist made by a festival musician," 6 Sep. 2019 The 12th annual Riverfest happens on Saturday, Sept. 14, at Somerville’s Assembly Row (355 Artisan Way), and this year the outdoor party features a special treat: a beer garden featuring top local brews. Kara Baskin,, "12th annual Riverfest is coming to Assembly Row," 30 Aug. 2019 There's going to be a special treat for audiences who go see The Angry Birds Movie 2 when it's released in theaters on August 14. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, "Short Film Hair Love Will Release With Angry Birds 2 After Viral 2017 Kickstarter," 7 Aug. 2019 Fayettville, Georgia mom, Nikki Rajahn, owns a t-shirt printing business and wanted to send her son Blake back to class with a special treat. Rebecca Angel Baer, Southern Living, "One Georgia 6-Year-Old is Heading Back to School with a Very Important Message," 5 Aug. 2019 As a special treat there will be free sundaes for those in attendance. Luann Gibbs,, "Things to do in Cincinnati this week: July 29-Aug. 4," 29 July 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.

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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

10 Oct 2019

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
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

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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

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to be made up of

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