sugar the pill

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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/sweeten the pill

  (British, American & Australian) also sugar-coat the pill (American)
to make something bad seem less unpleasant The government have cut income tax to sweeten the pill of a tough budget.
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