A medicinal compound once in wide use as an antidote to poisons. Treacle was a kind of salve. It was reputed to be a remedy against venomous bites in particular and against poisons in general. It also came to be considered a "cure" for cancer. The word "treacle" descends from the Greek "theriakos" (of a wild animal) and "therion" (a wild animal). Because wild animals may bite, these words gave rise to "theriake" meaning "antidote against a poisonous bite." The Romans borrowed "theriake" as "theriaca" and the word eventually entered Middle French and, in time, Middle English as "triacle." Treacle today also refers to molasses or a blend thereof with sugar. By extension, treacle is figuratively something very sweet, too sentimental, cloying.
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1. Molasses, a viscid syrup that drains from sugar-refining molds. 2. A saccharine fluid. 3. Formerly, a remedy for poison, hence any effective remedy. SEE ALSO: theriaca. [M.E. triacle, antidote, fr. L. theriaca, antidote to snake bite, fr. G. theriakos, pertaining to wild beasts]

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trea·cle 'trē-kəl n a medicinal compound formerly in wide use as a remedy against poison

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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  • Treacle — is a thick, dark sugar syrup produced during raw sugarcane refiningOxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, 1989.] , used chiefly in cooking as a form of sweetener. It has a distinctively strong flavour, slightly bitter, and a richer colour… …   Wikipedia

  • Treacle — Trea cle (tr[=e] k l), n. [OE. triacle a sovereign remedy, theriac, OF. triacle, F. th[ e]riaque (cf. Pr. triacla, tiriaca, Sp. & It. triaca, teriaca), L. theriaca an antidote against the bite of poisonous animals, Gr. ?, fr. ? of wild or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • treacle — (n.) mid 14c., medicinal compound, antidote for poison, from O.Fr. triacle antidote (c.1200), from V.L. *triacula, from L. theriaca, from Gk. theriake (antidotos) antidote for poisonous wild animals, from fem. of theriakos of a wild animal, from… …   Etymology dictionary

  • treacle — ► NOUN chiefly Brit. 1) molasses. 2) golden syrup. DERIVATIVES treacly adjective. ORIGIN originally referring to an antidote against venom: from Greek th riak antidote against venom , from th rion wild beast …   English terms dictionary

  • treacle — [trē′kəl] n. [ME triacle < OFr < L theriaca, antidote for poison < Gr ( antidotos) thēriakē, (remedy) for bites of venomous beasts < thērion, wild beast, dim. of thēr: see FIERCE] 1. Obs. a) a remedy for poison b) any effective remedy …   English World dictionary

  • treacle — trea|cle [ˈtri:kəl] n [U] [Date: 1300 1400; : Old French; Origin: triacle, from Latin theriaca, from Greek theriake cure for a poisonous bite , from therion wild animal ] 1.) BrE a thick sweet black sticky liquid that is obtained from the sugar… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • treacle — noun 1》 Brit. molasses.     ↘golden syrup. 2》 cloying sentimentality or flattery. Derivatives treacly adjective Word History When treacle entered English in the Middle Ages it meant antidote against poison, venomous bites, and disease : it came… …   English new terms dictionary

  • treacle — treacly /tree klee/, adj. /tree keuhl/, n. 1. contrived or unrestrained sentimentality: a movie plot of the most shameless treacle. 2. Brit. a. molasses, esp. that which is drained from the vats used in sugar refining. b. Also called golden syrup …   Universalium

  • treacle — noun Treacle is used before these nouns: ↑tart …   Collocations dictionary

  • treacle — [14] Treacle is etymologically an ‘antidote to the bite of wild animals’. The word comes via Old French triacle and Latin thēriaca from Greek thēriaké. This was short for antídotos thēriaké ‘antidote to poisonous animals’, thēriaké being a… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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