Treacle - Encyclopedia




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TREACLE, the thick viscid syrup obtained in the early processes of refining sugar, the uncrystallizable fluid obtained in the process of procuring refined crystallized sugar being known as "golden syrup" and the drainings from the crude sugar as "molasses" (see Sugar: Manufacture). The word was properly and first used for a medical compound of varying ingredients which was supposed to be a sovereign remedy against snake bites or poison generally. A well-known specific was Venice treacle, Theriaca Andromachi, a compound of a large number of drugs reduced to an electuary,' a medicinal compound prepared with honey, which dissolves in the mouth. The old French triacle, of which "treacle," earlier "triacle," is an adaptation, is a corruption of theriaque, Latin theriaca, Greek Bnpcax& (sc. 4fipµaKa), literally drugs used as an antidote against the bite of poisonous or wild animals (Oi)pcov, dim. of qp, wild beast). The word "triacle" came to be used of any remedy or antidote. The composition of electuaries with honey or syrup naturally transferred the name to the most familiar syrup, that obtained from the drainings of sugar.

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