Definition of theriac in US English:

theriac

noun

archaic
  • An ointment or other medicinal compound used as an antidote to snake venom or other poison.

    • ‘Originally formulated to counteract the bites of venomous creatures, theriacs became general antidotes for poisons, venoms or ailments.’
    • ‘An endless series of powders, theriacs, electuaries, leeches, mixtures and tablets of various types, decoctions, ointments and plasters were discussed and classified.’
    • ‘Numerous Islamic writers discussed poisons and particularly theriacs, the antidotes for poisons.’
    • ‘Medieval physicians created even more elaborate theriacs to dose a plague-dreading populace, for whom the possibility of a cure-all didn't seem too wild a notion at all.’
    • ‘In some countries, theriacs, which came to be used for a wide range of poisoning prophylaxis and treatment, were made under ceremonial supervision.’
    • ‘Ibn al-Mubarak devoted, in addition, a section, to theriacs and general antidotes.’
    • ‘In the garden, he grew medicinal plants from which he made and distilled different therapeutic tinctures, ointments and so-called theriacs or quack remedies.’
    • ‘The recipe for theriac varied but usually included vipers' flesh, parts of lizards, honey, plants, and herbs or spices (even ginger, cinnamon, and myrrh).’
    antitoxin, antiserum
    View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English: from Latin theriaca (see treacle).

Pronunciation

theriac

/ˈθɪriˌæk//ˈTHirēˌak/