sugar the pill

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Related to sugar the pill: sweeten the pill

sugar the pill

To make something bad, unpleasant, or dissatisfactory easier to cope with, endure, or accept. The bosses are giving everyone an extra bonus this year, but I suspect it's a way of sugaring the pill with the massive layoffs that are scheduled. I have to tell my mom about wrecking her car, but I need to find a way to sugar the pill first.
See also: pill, sugar

sugar the pill

Make something unpleasant more palatable, as in There would be no Christmas bonus this year but management sugared the pill by giving workers extra vacation time over the holidays . [Late 1700s]
See also: pill, sugar

sugar the pill


sugar-coat the pill

COMMON If you sugar the pill, you try to make bad news or an unpleasant situation seem less unpleasant. Stirling tried to sugar the pill for his employee. `There'll be a ten thousand pound bonus if you agree to go quietly.' His bitter pill was sugar-coated with a promise of `free and fair' elections. Note: In British English, you can also say that you sweeten the pill. A few words of praise help to sweeten the pill of criticism.
See also: pill, sugar

sugar (or sweeten) the pill

make an unpleasant or painful necessity more acceptable.
The image here is of making bitter-tasting medicine more palatable by adding sugar.
See also: pill, sugar

sugar/sweeten the ˈpill

make something unpleasant seem less unpleasant: He tried to sweeten the pill by telling her she’d only be in hospital a few days.
See also: pill, sugar, sweeten
References in periodicals archive ?
Ministers have attempted to sugar the pill by promising that business organisations will have a direct say in how this money should be spent, but suspicion at a time when all companies are facing huge financial pressures remains acute.
And there will be extra cash available to sugar the pill.
However, it helped sugar the pill that the original location of the channel, as Ch425, put it close to the prestigious Sky Sports channels and live horseracing.
You don't have to sugar the pill for me, Ground Control.
To sugar the pill, a local group of artists - Cite de la Creation - was commissioned to decorate 16 of the flank walls with murals depicting Garnier's Cite Industrielle and his major projects in Lyons.
Straight-mile handicaps run under floodlights are on the way -- not exactly guaranteed to sugar the pill -- but so, say ARC, is an investment of PS11million into Gosforth Park.
You'd think Cadbury's would try to sugar the pill, but no.
The effect on the largest farmers is less than under the Commissioner's original proposals, and to sugar the pill further, she suggests that all the funds deducted should remain at the disposal of the member state concerned; at present 20% may be reallocated to another member state by the Commission.