treacle

noun

trea·​cle ˈtrē-kəl How to pronounce treacle (audio)
1
chiefly British
a
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

Did you know?

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. Those roots gave life to treacle referring to molasses (developing from the "antidote" sense). The "molasses" sense was extended to 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 The main hotel's afternoon trestles laid with slices of strudel, mortadella, and pecorino sandwiches—complimentary to guests—are taken with treacle thick espressos or Aperols, depending on your poison. Jemima Sissons, Condé Nast Traveler, 9 Apr. 2024 Black treacle is the stronger tasting and bittersweet option, while the light version of treacle is the one called golden syrup and is by far the more popular of the two. Daryl Austin, USA TODAY, 25 Jan. 2024 Big fresh fruit aromas, as well as treacle and bourbon biscuits. Tom Mullen, Forbes, 25 Feb. 2024 In cooking recipes, molasses and light treacle are often used interchangeably because their textures and flavor profiles are similar. Daryl Austin, USA TODAY, 25 Jan. 2024 If the expectation for holiday season programming is treacle and sentiment, Hulu‘s new comedy Such Brave Girls is like a scorpion in your stocking. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Dec. 2023 Faraway Downs reinforces the story as a melodrama, cutting the treacle with a welcome note of bitterness. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Nov. 2023 There’s real valor, if not derring-do, in their songwriting, which never lands on anything resembling treacle. Chris Willman, Variety, 1 Nov. 2023 While Batch 028 was described as exhibiting: A moreish sweet pastry character with pepper and treacle. Joseph V Micallef, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'treacle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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

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Cite this Entry

“Treacle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/treacle. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

treacle

noun
trea·​cle ˈtrē-kəl How to pronounce treacle (audio)
chiefly British

Medical Definition

treacle

noun
trea·​cle ˈtrē-kəl How to pronounce treacle (audio)
: a medicinal compound formerly in wide use as a remedy against poison

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