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theriac archaic name for an ointment or other medicinal compound used as an antidote to snake venom or other poison. The word is recorded from late Middle English, and comes from Latin theriaca, from the Greek base of treacle.

It was traditionally believed that the flesh of a viper was a necessary ingredient of the antidote to its venom, as recorded in Topsell's History of Serpents (1608).

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theriac (arch.) antidote. XVI. — L. thēriaca, -cē — Gr. thēriakḗ; see TREACLE.