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[tree-kuh l] /ˈtri kəl/
contrived or unrestrained sentimentality:
a movie plot of the most shameless treacle.
  1. molasses, especially that which is drained from the vats used in sugar refining.
  2. Also called golden syrup. a mild mixture of molasses, corn syrup, etc., used in cooking or as a table syrup.
Pharmacology Obsolete. any of various medicinal compounds, formerly used as antidotes for poison.
Origin of treacle
1275-1325; Middle English, variant of triacle antidote < Middle French, Old French < Latin thēriaca < Greek thēriakḗ, noun use of feminine of thēriakós concerning wild beasts, equivalent to thērí(on) wild beast (thḗr wild beast + -ion diminutive suffix) + -akos -ac
Related forms
[tree-klee] /ˈtri kli/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for treacly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He watched the treacly pour of the yellow fog thickening about him.

    Patsy S. R. Crockett
  • And he set the sail, and Eliza steered as well as she could in her treacly state.

  • He takes a pellet of the black, treacly stuff on the end of a knitting-needle.

    From Sea to Sea Rudyard Kipling
  • "I haven't had any," she said, grasping the teapot and pouring a treacly liquid into a cup.

    Simon the Jester William J. Locke
  • It should make an end of the treacly farce which bandies between hopelessly parted colleagues the title 'right hon. friend.'

  • “Totty yikes oogar,” said the sticky cause of the mischief, in treacly tones.

    A Little World George Manville Fenn
  • And, holding his reloaded Lee-Metford rifle high over his head, he plunged into the treacly sea and swam back towards the dragon.

British Dictionary definitions for treacly


(Brit) Also called black treacle. a dark viscous syrup obtained during the refining of sugar
(Brit) another name for golden syrup
anything sweet and cloying
(obsolete) any of various preparations used as an antidote to poisoning
Derived Forms
treacly, adjective
treacliness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French triacle, 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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Word Origin and History for treacly



mid-14c., "medicinal compound, antidote for poison," from Old French triacle "antidote" (c.1200), from Vulgar Latin *triacula, from Latin theriaca, from Greek theriake (antidotos) "antidote for poisonous wild animals," from fem. of theriakos "of a wild animal," from therion "wild animal," diminutive of ther (genitive theros) "wild animal," from PIE root *ghwer- "wild" (see fierce).

Sense of "molasses" is first recorded 1690s; that of "anything too sweet or sentimental" is from 1771. The connection may be from the use of molasses as a laxative, or its use to disguise the bad taste of medicine.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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