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  1. a thick syrup produced during the refining of sugar or from sorghum, varying from light to dark brown in color.
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Origin of molasses

1575–85; earlier molassos, molasso(e)s < Portuguese melaços, plural of melaço (< Late Latin mellācium half-boiled new wine, for *mellāceum, neuter of *mellāceus honeylike, equivalent to mell-, stem of mel honey + -āceus -aceous)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for molasses


noun (functioning as singular)
  1. the thick brown uncrystallized bitter syrup obtained from sugar during refining
  2. US and Canadian a dark viscous syrup obtained during the refining of sugarAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): treacle
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Word Origin

C16: from Portuguese melaço, from Late Latin mellāceum must, from Latin mel honey
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

Word Origin and History for molasses


1580s, from Portuguese melaço, from Late Latin mellaceum "new wine," properly neuter of mellaceus "resembling honey," from Latin mel (genitive mellis) "honey" (see Melissa). Adopted in English in plural form, but regarded as a singular noun.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper