\ 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

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of treat in a Sentence

Verb 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. Noun 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 The research team suggested treatment with a blood product called intravenous immune globulin, which is used to treat various immune disorders. New York Times, "Blood Clots Linked to AstraZeneca Vaccine Stem From Rare Antibody Reaction," 9 Apr. 2021 The focus of the investigation was Temodal, which is used to treat such brain tumors as glioblastoma, the most frequent type of brain tumor in adults. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Merck reaches deal with Austrian antitrust regulators over ‘predatory’ pricing for a cancer drug," 8 Apr. 2021 Hydrocolloid is used to treat topical wounds as well as to protect zits from bacteria while sucking out fluid. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "Starface Pimple Patches Almost Make Me Look Forward to a Breakout," 7 Apr. 2021 Protease inhibitors are used to treat other viral pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis C. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, "Pfizer’s New Oral Protease Inhibitor Could Possibly Treat And Prevent Covid-19," 5 Apr. 2021 The approach has been used to treat epilepsy since the 1920s, when researchers discovered the seizure-reducing effects of the ketogenic diet on brain metabolism. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, "Special diets might boost the power of drugs to vanquish cancers," 1 Apr. 2021 Nasal sprays are more powerful and focus on alleviating sinus discomfort, while eye drops are used primarily to treat itchy, burning, or irritated eyes. Kevin Luna,, "Best over-the-counter allergy medicine," 1 Apr. 2021 The medication was Gabapentin, a drug commonly used to treat chronic pain or as an anticonvulsant. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, "Horse racing newsletter: Louis Rabaut’s latest Kentucky Oaks rankings," 22 Mar. 2021 Already, some of the monoclonal antibody treatments used to treat COVID-19 seem to be less effective against some of the new variants. Los Angeles Times, "California’s COVID-19 ‘honeymoon’ has been glorious. But it could end soon," 30 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Trick or treat was expected to be a low-key evening, but as the day unfolded, yards were decorated with jack-o’-lan·terns, inflatables and other decorations. Christina Hyder,, "Coronavirus pandemic aside, Halloween spirit unites neighbors | North Laurel/Savage," 4 Nov. 2020 The same can be said for trick-or-treat weather and the like. Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Cool but sunny today, with another strong cold front arriving Sunday," 31 Oct. 2020 On Friday, Garland is also holding a drive-thru trick-or-treat event at the Bradfield Recreation Center. Patrick Strickland, Dallas News, "Kids could win a new bike in Garland’s online Halloween costume contest," 29 Oct. 2020 On trick-or-treat night, said Eichler, the family adds pirate music and sounds, along with fog machines to add a more mysterious environment. Cathy Kozlowicz, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "These Milwaukee-area homes go all out for Halloween," 27 Oct. 2020 There are several trick-or-treat stops along the route on each side of the vehicle. Kari Barnett,, "5 things not to miss at South Florida Fair’s Spookyville drive-thru Halloween experience," 27 Oct. 2020 Specific trick-or-treat guidelines have not been announced. Doug Maccash | Staff Writer,, "Rolling Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters with the help of a ghoulish alien," 26 Oct. 2020 The idea, Molloy said, is for her daughter’s stuffed animals to represent homeowners giving out trick-or-treat candy. David Lindquist, The Indianapolis Star, "What Indianapolis parents are doing about trick-or-treating amid COVID-19," 26 Oct. 2020 According to the city’s trick-or-treat guidelines, individuals who are feeling unwell are asked not to participate in trick-or-treating. Elizabeth Owens-schiele,, "COVID-19 concerns have area towns split on allowing trick-or-treating, hosting live Halloween activities," 20 Oct. 2020

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

Time Traveler for treat

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for treat

Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Treat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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