short note: black strap molasses

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 27 06:37:41 UTC 2011

While most contemporary culinary references to dark molasses refer to "black
strap molasses", there is little evidence that any dictionary explains the

Black strap is old slang for inferior port or, as OED suggests in its
definition, a weak mixture of treacle and rum. Since molasses are
essentially treacle, this makes for an odd formation in "black strap
molasses". OED has no entry, but does show it in a quotation under "strike
me blind". ("black strap" can be found under "black")

1936    B. Adams Ships & Women viii. 180   The dish‥called
> ‘strike-me-blind’. Boiled rice, with black-strap molasses.

I am not sure when the collocation entered circulation, but certainly not
after the Prohibition ended.


The American Dialect Society -

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