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[theer-ee-ak] /ˈθɪər iˌæk/
molasses; treacle.
a paste formerly used as an antidote to poison, especially snake venom, made from 60 or 70 different drugs pulverized and mixed with honey.
Also, theriaca
[thuh-rahy-uh-kuh] /θəˈraɪ ə kə/ (Show IPA)
Origin of theriac
before 1000; < Latin thēriaca antidote to poison < Greek thēriakḗ, feminine of thēriakós, equivalent to thērí(on) wild beast + -akos -ac; replacing Middle English tiriake, Old English tȳriaca < Medieval Latin, variant of thēriaca
Related forms
theriacal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for theriac
Historical Examples
  • Then there is a commentary on the "Cantica of Avicenna," and a tractate on the "theriac."

  • He is partial to long controversies, calmuniates priest and theriac.

    The Book of Masks Remy de Gourmont
  • There he found that the most called for remedy was a theriac.

    Psychotherapy James J. Walsh
  • theriac is only the more rigid form of the same word, the scholarly, as distinguished from the popular, adoption of it.

    English Past and Present Richard Chevenix Trench
  • But we lawyers boil our theriac even nowadays and regard the most important study, the study of reality, with arrogance.

    Criminal Psychology Hans Gross
  • Being, however, provided with theriac and other antidotes against the poison, Alvaro and all his men recovered from their wounds.

  • Whenever any compound was for any reason spoiled in the drug store, the rule was, "Put that aside for the theriac."

    Psychotherapy James J. Walsh
  • theriac or Mithridatum grew in complexity until by the 16th century it had some 60 different ingredients.

British Dictionary definitions for theriac


noun (archaic)
an ointment or potion of varying composition, used as an antidote to a poison
Word Origin
C14: from Latin thēriaca antidote to poison
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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