"...running like treacle" - what does it mean?

Russian - Russia
#1
Hi everyone,

I've just come across this sentence "It has led to major websites and services – including Imgur, Medium and the Docker Registry Hub – falling offline, losing images, or left running like treacle." They mean the outage of Amazon S3, in case it's relevant.
I understand what "treacle" generally means, but how is it used in this sentence? Is this some idiomatic expression (of which I cannot find any traces online) or just a metaphor? And if it is a metaphor, what would be the synonym?

I'm asking because I'm not English, so I need help with understanding this phrase, but I kind of like it and would like to use it myself if it makes sense in a context other than that one:)

Thanks a lot in advance!
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    #2
    I've never come across 'running like treacle' before, but I would guess it means 'running very slowly'.

    There is an expression 'like running/walking through treacle', which can be used to describe something which feels like hard work, or a bit of an effort. Maybe the writer is playing with this established idiom?
     
    British English
    #3
    Treacle is thick and sticky so 'running like treacle' means slowly and 'sticking' or often stopping.
    It's not a common expression.
    Just to add after reading heypresto's, that I haven't heard it before and I suspect it's just invented by analogy with the fairly well known expression.
     
    Russian - Russia
    #5
    Thanks a lot to all the contributors. The meaning 'running very slowly' absolutely makes sense, why I haven't thought of that?:) But I guess this is one of those expressions that can only be used by native speakers, because if I use it, people will think I've made a mistake instead of admiring how figurative my language is:)

    Thanks again!
     
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