from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Cloying speech or sentiment.
  • noun Chiefly British Molasses.
  • noun A medicinal compound formerly used as an antidote for poison.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A medicinal compound of various ingredients, formerly believed to be capable of curing or preventing the effects of poison, particularly the effects of the bite of a serpent. See theriac.
  • noun More generally, a remedy; a panacea; a sovereign antidote or restorative: often used figuratively.
  • noun The spume of sugar in sugar-refineries: so called as resembling in appearance or supposed medicinal properties the ancient theriacal compounds.
  • noun A saccharine fluid consisting of the inspissated juices or decoctions of certain vegetables, as the sap of the birch or of the sugar-maple.
  • noun One of several plants sometimes regarded as antidotes to poison, or named from plants so regarded. See the phrases below.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Old Med.) A remedy against poison. See theriac, 1.
  • noun obsolete A sovereign remedy; a cure.
  • noun Molasses; sometimes, specifically, the molasses which drains from the sugar-refining molds, and which is also called sugarhouse molasses.
  • noun A saccharine fluid, consisting of the inspissated juices or decoctions of certain vegetables, as the sap of the birch, sycamore, and the like.
  • noun (Bot.) a name given to several species of the cruciferous genus Erysimum, especially the Erysimum cheiranthoides, which was formerly used as an ingredient in Venice treacle, or theriac.
  • noun a compound cordial prepared in different ways from a variety of ingredients, as hartshorn, roots of various plants, flowers, juices of plants, wines, etc., distilled or digested with Venice treacle. It was formerly regarded as a medicine of great virtue.
  • noun (Old Med.) Same as Theriac, 1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun obsolete An antidote for poison; theriac.
  • noun chiefly UK A syrupy byproduct of sugar refining; molasses or golden syrup.
  • noun Cloying sentimental speech.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun writing or music that is excessively sweet and sentimental
  • noun a pale cane syrup


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English triacle, antidote for poison, from Old French, from Latin thēriaca, from Greek thēriakē (antidotos), (antidote against) wild animals, feminine of thēriakos, of wild animals, from thērion, diminutive of thēr, beast; see ghwer- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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


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  • Cloying sentimental speech

    December 31, 2006

  • Or, British for jam.

    July 13, 2007

  • According to Mr. Pronunciation, it's "teekle."

    December 12, 2009

  • My new word for today.

    March 10, 2010

  • "I've had it done up lately," he explained, as he had explained for the past -- how many? -- weeks. "New carpet," and he pointed to the bright red carpet with a pattern of large white rings. "New furniture," and he nodded towards the massive bookcase and the table with legs like twisted treacle. "Electric heating!" He waved almost exultantly towards the five transparent, pearly sausages glowing so softly in the tilted copper pan.

    (The Fly, by Katherine Mansfield)

    I'm trying to figure out what the author means by twisted treacle.

    Could it be the way thick molasses flows, something like this?

    February 1, 2013

  • I'm imagining the softly glowing pearly sausages mentioned in the quotation below.

    February 1, 2013

  • Oh dear. I feel the inexorable pull of confectio Damocritis trying to suck me in--I'll try to resist, but I will note that treacle has now been added to my sugar list and my list of substances formerly-used-in-medicine, that the decoction reference in the definition is downright iroquoisy, and that there's apparently a long-running joke about treacle mining (

    February 1, 2013

  • 'concerning venomous beasts', oh my!

    June 15, 2021