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From Middle English triacle, partly from Old French triacle, and partly from Old English tiriaca, both from Late Latin *triaca, *tiriaca, late form of theriaca, ultimately from Ancient Greek θηριακή (thēriakḗ, antidote), feminine form of θηριακός (thēriakós, concerning venomous beasts), from θήρ (thḗr, beast). Compare theriac, theriacle.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈtɹiː.kəl/
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  • Rhymes: -iːkəl


A cup of curd with treacle being poured upon it

treacle (countable and uncountable, plural treacles)

  1. (chiefly Britain) A syrupy byproduct of sugar refining; molasses or golden syrup.
  2. Cloying sentimental speech.
    • 2012 July 22, Frank Rich, “Mayberry R.I.P.”, in New York[1]:
      The public tributes to Griffith were over-the-top in a way his acting never was, spreading treacle from the evening newscasts to the front page of the New York Times.
  3. (Cockney rhyming slang) Sweetheart (from treacle tart).
    Listen, treacle, this is the last time I'll warn you!
  4. (obsolete) An antidote for poison; theriac.
  5. (obsolete, figuratively) Any all-powerful curative; a general remedy, a cure-all.
    • c. 1385, William Langland, Piers Plowman, I:
      For trewthe telleþ þat loue · is triacle of heuene.

Derived terms[edit]



treacle (third-person singular simple present treacles, present participle treacling, simple past and past participle treacled)

  1. To apply treacle to a surface, so as to catch flies or moths, etc.