verb (used with object)

  1. to act or behave toward (a person) in some specified way: to treat someone with respect.
  2. to consider or regard in a specified way, and deal with accordingly: to treat a matter as unimportant.
  3. to deal with (a disease, patient, etc.) in order to relieve or cure.
  4. to deal with in speech or writing; discuss.
  5. to deal with, develop, or represent artistically, especially in some specified manner or style: to treat a theme realistically.
  6. to subject to some agent or action in order to bring about a particular result: to treat a substance with an acid.
  7. to entertain; give hospitality to: He treats diplomats in the lavish surroundings of his country estate.
  8. to provide food, entertainment, gifts, etc., at one’s own expense: Let me treat you to dinner.

verb (used without object)

  1. to deal with a subject in speech or writing; discourse: a work that treats of the caste system in India.
  2. to give, or bear the expense of, a treat: Is it my turn to treat?
  3. to carry on negotiations with a view to a settlement; discuss terms of settlement; negotiate.


  1. entertainment, food, drink, etc., given by way of compliment or as an expression of friendly regard.
  2. anything that affords particular pleasure or enjoyment.
  3. the act of treating.
  4. one’s turn to treat.


  1. a celebration, entertainment, gift, or feast given for or to someone and paid for by another
  2. any delightful surprise or specially pleasant occasion
  3. the act of treating


  1. (tr) to deal with or regard in a certain mannershe treats school as a joke
  2. (tr) to apply treatment toto treat a patient for malaria
  3. (tr) to subject to a process or to the application of a substanceto treat photographic film with developer
  4. (tr ; often foll by to) to provide (someone) (with) as a treathe treated the children to a trip to the zoo
  5. (intr usually foll by of) formal to deal (with), as in writing or speaking
  6. (intr) formal to discuss settlement; negotiate

v.c.1300, “negotiate, bargain, deal with,” from Old French traiter (12c.), from Latin tractare “manage, handle, deal with,” originally “drag about,” frequentative of trahere (past participle tractus) “to pull, draw” (see tract (n.1)). Meaning “to entertain with food and drink by way of compliment or kindness (or bribery)” is recorded from c.1500. Sense of “deal with in speech or writing” (early 14c.) led to the use in medicine (1781), “to attempt to heal or cure.” Related: Treated; treating. n.late 14c., “action of discussing terms,” from treat (v.). Sense of “a treating with food and drink” (1650s) was extended by 1770 to “anything that gives pleasure.” v.

  1. To give medical aid to someone.
  2. To give medical aid to counteract a disease or condition.

In addition to the idiom beginning with treat

  • treat like dirt
  • also see:

  • Dutch treat
  • trick or treat
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