treacle

Definitions

General English

Food

  • The non-crystallizeable impurities in sugar cane juice which remain in liquid form after processing to separate the pure sucrose. It is thick, black, sticky and sweet with a distinctive flavour and used in cakes, tarts and toffees. The similar substance from sugar beet juice is too bitter for human consumption.

Travel

  • noun a thick dark-brown syrup produced when sugar is refined, used to make treacle toffee

Origin & History of “treacle”

Treacle is etymologically an ‘antidote to the bite of wild animals’. The word comes via Old French triacle and Latin thēriaca from Greek thēriakḗ. this was short for antídotos thēriakḗ ‘antidote to poisonous animals’, thēriakḗ being a derivative of thēríon ‘wild animal, poisonous animal’, which in turn came from thḗr ‘wild savage’. It retained its original meaning into English, but it then gradually broadened out into ‘medicine’, and the practice of disguising the unpleasant taste of medicine with sugar syrup led in the 17th century to its application to ‘syrup’.
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