Definition of treacle in English:



  • 1British A thick, sticky dark syrup made from partly refined sugar; molasses.

    • ‘To this townie's feet it's like walking through treacle.’
    • ‘They waved us to empty chairs, plonking cups filled with coffee as thick as treacle in front of us - and, completely unperturbed, carried on raising the roof.’
    • ‘It is then processed, cooked and eaten in various forms ranging from a sticky treacle to a dry bread.’
    • ‘But what's money when we've got home made treacle sponge for pudding?’
    • ‘For dessert, the three of us shared treacle pudding.’
    • ‘An innovation confined mainly to Britain was treacle or molasses from sugar cane.’
    • ‘Marinate it for two to four hours in a large cooking pot in two tablespoons of black treacle, black peppercorns, a couple of bay leaves, a third of a pint of wine vinegar and three onions, roughly chopped.’
    • ‘A treacle tart is my first choice, then I can eat any leftover at breakfast before everyone else gets up, but a crumbly upside tart would be good, perhaps with figs or apples underneath.’
    • ‘More of this and the ice cream will make way for sponge pudding and treacle and my autumn diet will be fully established.’
    • ‘Traditional bonfire treats including black peas, baked potatoes, parkin, toffee apples and treacle toffee were also on offer.’
    • ‘Time to head downstairs, but not before I've warned them that if they don't eat their main course, they'll miss out on the treacle tart.’
    • ‘The brown bread was not wholemeal, but coloured with molasses or treacle.’
    • ‘Mix together the egg, 125g muscovado sugar, treacle, buttermilk and remaining butter until smooth.’
    • ‘Well, a rum baba and a treacle tart were atypically heavy.’
    • ‘Make a well in the middle, add the oil, treacle and enough milk to combine and make a soft dough.’
    • ‘We're using a Wiltshire wet cure, consisting of beer, salt, black treacle, black peppercorns, juniper berries and saltpetre (according to HFW's recipe).’
    • ‘Tar clogs your lungs like thick treacle, and a 20-a-day smoker inhales a full cup of tar in a year.’
    • ‘The curd is perfectly complemented by the thick warm brown treacle topping that titillates the palate of dessert lovers anywhere.’
    • ‘Don't just use white sugar - adding some muscovado and even black treacle will boost the flavour.’
    • ‘A real treat would be a wonderful treacle pudding.’
    1. 1.1Syrup of a golden-yellow colour; golden syrup.
      • ‘A treacle sponge was a throwback to the days when Golden Syrup was a treat.’
  • 2Cloying sentimentality or flattery.

    ‘enough of this treacle—let's get back to business’
    • ‘All this loss - of innocence, of dearly loved creatures - and yet, there is not a word of sentimentality or taste of treacle.’
    • ‘In such a time, his greatest mistake is not sweetening his logic with sentimental treacle.’
    • ‘That he accomplishes all this without diving head first into a pit of treacle and Hallmark sentiment makes it all the more valuable.’
    • ‘Without any sentimental treacle, I cried all the way through.’


Middle English (originally denoting an antidote against venom): from Old French triacle, via Latin from Greek thēriakē antidote against venom, feminine of thēriakos (adjective), from thērion wild beast. Current senses date from the late 17th century.