- a small globular or rounded mass of medicinal substance, usually covered with a hard coating, that is to be swallowed whole.
- something unpleasant that has to be accepted or endured: Ingratitude is a bitter pill.
- Slang. a tiresomely disagreeable person.
- Sports Slang. a ball, especially a baseball or golf ball.
- the pill. birth-control pill.
- pills, British Slang. billiards.
- to dose with pills.
- to form or make into pills.
- Slang. to blackball.
- to form into small, pill-like balls, as the fuzz on a wool sweater.Compare depill.
- Take a chill pill! Disparaging Slang. chill pill(def 2).
Origin of pill1
- a small spherical or ovoid mass of a medicinal substance, intended to be swallowed whole
- the pill (sometimes capital) informal an oral contraceptive
- something unpleasant that must be endured (esp in the phrase bitter pill to swallow)
- slang a ball or disc
- a small ball of matted fibres that forms on the surface of a fabric through rubbing
- slang an unpleasant or boring person
- (tr) to give pills to
- (tr) to make pills of
- to form into small balls
- (of a fabric) to form small balls of fibre on its surface through rubbing
- (tr) slang to blackball
- archaic, or dialect to peel or skin (something)
- archaic to pillage or plunder (a place)
- obsolete to make or become bald
Word Origin and History for the pill
"small ball or round mass of medicine," c.1400, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German pille and Middle French pile, all from Latin pilula "pill," literally "little ball," diminutive of pila "a ball, playing ball," said to be related to pilus "hair" if the original notion was "hairball." Figurative sense "something disagreeable that must be swallowed" is from 1540s; slang meaning "boring person" is recorded from 1871. The pill "contraceptive pill" is from 1957.
1736, "to dose on pills," from pill (n.). From 1882 as "to form into pills." Related: Pilled; pilling.
- A small pellet or tablet of medicine, often coated, taken by swallowing whole or by chewing.
- An oral contraceptive.