Definition of treat in English:

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Pronunciation: /triːt/


[with object]
1Behave towards or deal with in a certain way: she had been brutally treated he treated her with grave courtesy
More example sentences
  • People treated us with respect and we treated them with respect, you know?
  • It was a huge honour for me, and I felt a great deal of pressure but at the same time he treated me with respect with regard to my work.
  • I always get him into trouble by saying he's a great reporter, because people think he treated us with a soft touch.
behave towards, act towards, conduct oneself towards, use, serve;
deal with, handle, manage
1.1 (treat something as) Regard something as being of a specified nature with implications for one’s actions concerning it: the names are being treated as classified information
More example sentences
  • Will the Councillors ignore these people by treating their concerns as only emotional and with contempt go ahead with the Emigrant Creek effluent disposal option?
  • During the past few decades, as far as novels are concerned, none treated the masses as the principal actors.
  • Summarising, political correctness is a one-way street: they may use every form of rudeness but we must treat their concerns as sacred; this must be fought.
1.2Present or discuss (a subject): the issue is more fully treated in chapter five
More example sentences
  • At the end of the book Domninus says that he intends to treat some of the subjects more fully in Elements of Arithmetic but it is not known if he ever wrote it!
  • The second chapter treats the apparently obligatory discussion of natural revelation, before the author returns to the topic of culture.
  • Little wonder, then, when television - the ultimate in consumption - treats a subject it very often does so by history.
deal with, be about, cover, be concerned with, concern itself with, discuss, write/speak/talk about, go into, explore, investigate, tackle, handle;
consider, study, review, analyse, critique
2Give medical care or attention to; try to heal or cure: the two were treated for cuts and bruises
More example sentences
  • Within a week he was in intensive care, being treated for blood poisoning.
  • It is nursing which has shown ways to involve parents in the care of their children who are being treated for cancer.
  • About half of these are treated for cure, and half for palliation.
attend to, tend, minister to, nurse, give treatment to;
prescribe medicine for, medicate, dose
informal doctor
cure, heal, remedy, make better
3Apply a process or a substance to (something) to protect or preserve it or to give it particular properties: the lawns were treated with weedkiller every year
More example sentences
  • The experimental group is treated with a vaccine known to protect against the infection.
  • Plants were also treated with the fungicide mefenoxam.
  • Apricots are usually treated with sulphur dioxide, a preservative, before being sun dried.
prime, prepare, process, cover
4 (treat someone to) Provide someone with (food, drink, or entertainment) at one’s own expense: he treated her to a slap-up lunch
More example sentences
  • We were welcomed by church leaders, given a brief understanding of the basic procedures to respect the followers attending the service, and afterwards we were treated to drinks, food and a chance to ask individuals about their faith.
  • We've just got back from staying with my family in Hertfordshire where we were treated to food, drink, good company and lots of games.
  • At the various delivery points, the consignee often treated them to food and drink in return for other messages carried for him on the side.
buy, take out for, stand, give;
pay for, pay/foot the bill for;
entertain, wine and dine
regale with, entertain with/by, fete with, amuse with/by, divert with/by
4.1Give someone (something) as a favour: he treated her to one of his smiles
More example sentences
  • I only wish that the ‘new’ Crikey was sufficiently financed to send Therese around the world so we might be treated to even more of her unique brand of cultural insight.
  • Judge for yourself as the Gang of Three treat us to their own favourite jokes.
  • So I climbed some 300 steps to get to the top, where I was treated to some gorgeous views of the Thai capital.
4.2 (treat oneself) Do or have something that gives one great pleasure: treat yourself—you can diet tomorrow
More example sentences
  • ‘The idea is that they are getting some products for free, so the shopper will perhaps splash out on a gift for someone or treat themselves to a luxury item they would not usually purchase,’ he said.
  • They may choose the hard seat, or, if ‘splurging’ (to use backpackerese), treat themselves to the hard sleeper.
  • A fellow treats himself and his true love to dinner, a bottle and a night at the bug house at the end of another week of hard work and dutiful child-rearing, comes home happy and at peace, and what does he find?
5 [no object] Negotiate terms with someone, especially an opponent: propagandists claimed that he was treating with the enemy
More example sentences
  • He has 60 days from the receipt of the recommendations and three options in treating with the authority: accept, reject or modify.
  • But even it is treating with Mammon this year.
  • And now, because they are behaving like the yobbos they really are, we'll punish them by no longer treating with them.
negotiate, discuss terms, have talks, consult, parley, talk, confer;
make a bargain, bargain


1An event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure: he wanted to take her to the pictures as a treat
More example sentences
  • I'm going to save the listening pleasure for a treat at the end of exams.
  • Adding to his pleasure was the repeated treat of sleeping in his own bed.
  • While most toddlers might get a trip to the pictures for their birthday treat, Brooklyn's superstar mum and dad have hired out the whole cinema for his big day.
celebration, entertainment, amusement, diversion;
party, excursion, outing
present, gift;
titbit, delicacy, little something, luxury, indulgence, extravagance
informal goodie
pleasure, source of pleasure, delight, thrill, joy
1.1 (one's treat) An act of treating someone to something: ‘My treat,’ he insisted, reaching for the bill
1.2North American A sweet, biscuit, or other item of sweet food.
Example sentences
  • To make eating more satisfying, Schatz suggests utilizing a greater variety of flavors and cutting back on salty foods and sweet treats.
  • And Mrs Habgood suggests eating sweet treats and Christmas pudding at tea-time.
  • Seasonal treats include candies, cookies, fruits, nuts, food snacks and drinks which overflow the gift basket.



—— a treat

British informal
Do something specified very well or satisfactorily: their tactics worked a treat
More example sentences
  • If Queensland had deliberately targeted Johnson's suspect temperament ahead of the Test series, as some feared they might, then the tactic worked a treat initially.
  • Monkhouse's new tactic worked a treat as she went on to take the set 5-3 to force a best-of-three-ends shoot-out.
  • The tactics worked a treat, as his mount stormed away in the closing stages.
(look a treat)1.1 Look attractive: I don’t know whether she can act, but she looks a treat
More example sentences
  • But it is a vast improvement on the post-war British version of the tale, it looks a treat and boasts a fantastic cast of character actors sinking their teeth into Dickens' gallery of grotesques and unfortunates.
  • However, the film looks a treat, Jack McElhone is an expressive, unaffected child actor and Gibb makes sure that the film still takes a persuasive hold on the heartstrings.
  • The first has all 15 episodes of the original 1949 B & R theatrical serial over its two discs and looks a treat.

treat something lightly

Regard something as unimportant: this is a serious matter and he can’t treat it lightly
More example sentences
  • Most people do not, in fact, treat sex lightly.
  • Nevertheless, the significance of money should not be treated lightly.
  • Yet on Tuesday, he did us proud by standing up to the smear merchants of a Senate Committee which has treated justice lightly.



Example sentences
  • One of the government's lawyers told the judge that it is clear this individual has withheld information from his treaters.
  • If I waste all this time being angry with my treaters, regardless of whether I am right or not, well what does it achieve?
  • When you go door-to-door to score free candy, also ask your treater for any old eyeglasses.


Middle English (in the senses 'negotiate' and 'discuss a subject'): from Old French traitier, from Latin tractare 'handle', frequentative of trahere 'draw, pull'. The current noun sense dates from the mid 17th century.

  • Treat is first recorded with the meanings ‘negotiate’ and ‘discuss (a subject)’. It is from Old French traitier, from Latin tractare ‘handle’. The sense ‘event that gives great pleasure’ dates from the mid 17th century, developing via the senses ‘treatment of guests’ and the entertainment you put on for them. Late Middle English treatise is also from Old French traitier, while treaty (Late Middle English), and tract (Late Middle English) are related.

Words that rhyme with treat

accrete, autocomplete, beet, bittersweet, bleat, cheat, cleat, clubfeet, compete, compleat, complete, conceit, Crete, deceit, delete, deplete, discreet, discrete, eat, effete, élite, entreat, escheat, estreat, excrete, feat, feet, fleet, gîte, greet, heat, leat, leet, Magritte, maltreat, marguerite, meat, meet, meet-and-greet, mesquite, mete, mistreat, neat, outcompete, peat, Pete, petite, pleat, receipt, replete, sangeet, seat, secrete, sheet, skeet, sleet, splay-feet, street, suite, sweet, teat, tweet, wheat

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: treat

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