[tree-kuh l]
  1. contrived or unrestrained sentimentality: a movie plot of the most shameless treacle.
  2. British.
    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.
  3. 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 formstrea·cly [tree-klee] /ˈtri kli/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for treacly

Contemporary Examples of treacly

Historical Examples of treacly

  • He watched the treacly pour of the yellow fog thickening about him.


    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.'

British Dictionary definitions for treacly


  1. Also called: black treacle British a dark viscous syrup obtained during the refining of sugar
  2. British another name for golden syrup
  3. anything sweet and cloying
  4. obsolete any of various preparations used as an antidote to poisoning
Derived Formstreacly, adjectivetreacliness, noun

Word Origin for treacle

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

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