There are 2 definitions of pill in English:

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.

Phrases

a bitter pill (to swallow)

An unpleasant or painful necessity (to accept).
More 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

Make an unpleasant or painful necessity more palatable.
More 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.

Definition of pill in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day apposite
Pronunciation: ˈapəzɪt
adjective
apt in the circumstances or relation to something

There are 2 definitions of pill in English:

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.

Definition of pill in: