A treatise is a formal written paper about a specific subject. It’s like an essay but longer. A treatise is usually about a serious subject, so you might read a treatise on democracy, but you probably won’t read a treatise about chewing gum.

The word treatise is related to the verb treat, in the sense of “deal with,” like the way a doctor treats a patient. Like a doctor, a treatise examines a subject from all angles. It has nothing to do with treats, unless you’re writing a treatise on desserts, which would be weird. More appropriate topics for a treatise include philosophy, religion, economics, and so forth. An example of a political treatise is The Prince by Machiavelli, which basically argues that “the ends justify the means.”

Definitions of treatise
  1. noun

    a formal exposition

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    dissertation, thesis

    a treatise advancing a new point of view resulting from research; usually a requirement for an advanced academic degree
    pamphlet, tract

    a brief treatise on a subject of interest; published in the form of a booklet

    a detailed and documented treatise on a particular subject
    type of:

    piece of writing, writing, written material

    the work of a writer; anything expressed in letters of the alphabet (especially when considered from the point of view of style and effect)

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