Definitions

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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A remedy against poison. See theriac, 1.
  • n. A sovereign remedy; a cure.
  • n. Molasses; sometimes, specifically, the molasses which drains from the sugar-refining molds, and which is also called sugarhouse molasses.
  • n. A saccharine fluid, consisting of the inspissated juices or decoctions of certain vegetables, as the sap of the birch, sycamore, and the like.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. 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.
  • n. More generally, a remedy; a panacea; a sovereign antidote or restorative: often used figuratively.
  • n. The spume of sugar in sugar-refineries: so called as resembling in appearance or supposed medicinal properties the ancient theriacal compounds.
  • n. A saccharine fluid consisting of the inspissated juices or decoctions of certain vegetables, as the sap of the birch or of the sugar-maple.
  • n. One of several plants sometimes regarded as antidotes to poison, or named from plants so regarded. See the phrases below.

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

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

Etymologies

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.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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. (Wiktionary)

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