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



A cup of curd with treacle being poured upon it

treacle (countable and uncountable, plural treacles)

  1. (obsolete) An antidote for poison; theriac.
  2. (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.
  3. (chiefly Britain) A syrupy byproduct of sugar refining; molasses or golden syrup.
  4. 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.

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.