There are 2 main definitions of pill in English:

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pill1

Line breaks: pill
Pronunciation: /pɪl
 
/

noun

1A small round mass of solid medicine for swallowing whole: an overdose of sleeping pills
More example sentences
  • He was a very bright, socially sensitive, and insightful young man whose complaint was that he could not swallow pills or capsules.
  • Laxatives come as syrups, powders, and also as pills, which are swallowed or put inside the anus.
  • Your doctor may also ask you if you take any medicines such as birth control pills, laxatives or diet pills.
Synonyms
1.1 (the pill) An oral contraceptive in pill form: is she on the pill?
More example sentences
  • This is the largest women's health study ever done and contradicts other research on the pill.
  • Some women find this method disconcerting because the period they have each month while on the pill is reassurance that they haven't become pregnant.
  • That occurs mainly in people who have been on the pill for more than 10 years and who smoke cigarettes.
2 informal , dated A tedious or unpleasant person.
3 informal , dated (In some sports) a humorous term for a ball.

Origin

late Middle English: ultimately from Latin pilula 'little ball', diminutive of pila; compare with Middle Dutch, Middle Low German pille.

More
  • In the past physicians would cover bitter pills thinly with gold to make them easier to swallow. This gave rise to the early 17th-century phrase gild the pill, ‘to make an unpleasant or painful necessity more palatable’. As the practice of sugar-coating superseded gilding pills, the more familiar version sugar the pill took over from the end of the 18th century. Pill itself goes back to Latin pilula ‘little ball’ from pila ‘ball’. The Pill as a name for a contraceptive dates from the 1950s. See also pellet

Phrases

a bitter pill (to swallow)

1
An unpleasant or painful necessity (to accept).
Example sentences
  • ‘It is a bitter pill to swallow but it is necessary to cut back and balance the books,’ he said.
  • This one is - and should be - a bitter pill to swallow.
  • Eventually he murmurs ‘It's a bitter pill to swallow.’

sugar (or sweeten) the pill

2
Make an unpleasant or painful necessity more palatable.
Example sentences
  • The ‘horrible’ truth may taste ‘bad’ but Fischer, like any funny man worth his salt, sweetens the pill.
  • An increasing number of dating agencies are sweetening the pill by affecting introductions with clients who share a particular interest, but the biggest innovation for the industry has come with the internet.
  • He makes no attempt to sweeten the pill by positing an upside to emotional politics or strategies designed to boost self-esteem.

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There are 2 main definitions of pill in English:

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pill2

Line breaks: pill
Pronunciation: /pɪl
 
/

verb

[no object]
(Of knitted fabric) form small balls of fluff on its surface: synthetics can pill but otherwise wear fairly well (as adjective pilled) no matter how carefully you wash them, some sweaters end up pilled and bobbly
More example sentences
  • This new fabric treatment enables the garment to resist shrinking, pilling, fading and wrinkles while remaining breathable.
  • Those tiny little felt guys that I made for Amelia just before she was born have been loved a little and have ended up filthy and terribly pilled.
  • The yarn pilled up a lot, and though it was soft it always looked kind of weird on me so I rarely wore it.

Origin

1960s: from the noun pill denoting a small ball of fluff, extended sense of pill1.

More
  • In the past physicians would cover bitter pills thinly with gold to make them easier to swallow. This gave rise to the early 17th-century phrase gild the pill, ‘to make an unpleasant or painful necessity more palatable’. As the practice of sugar-coating superseded gilding pills, the more familiar version sugar the pill took over from the end of the 18th century. Pill itself goes back to Latin pilula ‘little ball’ from pila ‘ball’. The Pill as a name for a contraceptive dates from the 1950s. See also pellet

Definition of pill in:

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