use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

To look up an entry in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, use the search window above. For best results, after typing in the word, click on the “Search” button instead of using the “enter” key.

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you type them in the search bar. For best results with compound words, place a quotation mark before the compound word in the search window.

guide to the dictionary

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. Annual surveys have gauged the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY BLOG

The articles in our blog examine new words, revised definitions, interesting images from the fifth edition, discussions of usage, and more.

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

treat (trēt)
Share:
v. treat·ed, treat·ing, treats
v.tr.
1. To act or behave in a specified manner toward: treated me fairly.
2. To regard and handle in a certain way. Often used with as: treated the matter as a joke.
3. To deal with in writing or speech; discuss: a book that treats all aspects of health care.
4. To deal with or represent artistically in a specified manner or style: treats the subject poetically.
5.
a. To provide with food, entertainment, or gifts at one's own expense: treated her sister to the theater.
b. To give (someone or oneself) something pleasurable: treated herself to a day in the country.
6. To subject to a process, action, or change, especially to a chemical or physical process or application: treated the cloth with bleach.
7.
a. To give medical aid to (someone): treated many patients in the emergency room.
b. To give medical aid to counteract (a disease or condition): treated malaria with quinine.
v.intr.
1. To deal with a subject or topic in writing or speech. Often used with of: The essay treats of courtly love.
2. To pay for another's entertainment, food, or drink.
3. To engage in negotiations, as to reach a settlement or agree on terms: "Both sides nonetheless are quite willing to treat with [the king]" (Gregory J. Wallance).
n.
1. Something, such as one's food or entertainment, that is paid for by someone else.
2. A source of a special delight or pleasure: His trip abroad was a real treat.

[Middle English tretien, from Old French traitier, from Latin tractāre, frequentative of trahere, to draw.]

treater n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.