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1580s, from Portuguese melaço, from Late Latin mellaceum "new wine," properly neuter of mellaceus "resembling honey," from Latin mel (genitive mellis) "honey" (see Melissa). Adopted in English in plural form, but regarded as a singular noun.
syrup remaining after sugar is crystallized out of cane or beet juice. Molasses syrup is separated from sugar crystals by means of centrifuging. Molasses is separated from the sugar crystals repeatedly during the manufacturing process, resulting in several different grades of molasses; that obtained from the first extraction contains more sugar, tastes sweeter, and is lighter in colour than molasses obtained at the second or third extractions. The third and final extraction yields blackstrap molasses, a heavy, viscous, dark-coloured product that has had all the sugar removed from it that can be separated practically by ordinary crystallization.