sweeten

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sweeten the pill

To make something bad, unpleasant, or dissatisfactory easier to cope with, endure, or accept. The bosses are giving everyone an extra 10% bonus this Christmas, but I suspect it's a way of sweetening the pill that there will be massive pay cuts in January. I have to tell my mom about wrecking her car, but I need to find a way to sweeten the pill first.
See also: pill, sweeten

sweeten someone up

to make someone more pleasant. I had hoped that a week in the Caribbean would sweeten him up. The trip sweetened him up, but not for long.
See also: sweeten, up

sweeten something up

to make something taste sweeter. Where is the sugar? I need to sweeten this up a little. A little sugar will sweeten up the coffee.
See also: sweeten, up

sweeten the pot

Fig. to increase the amount of money bet in a card game with hopes of encouraging other players to bet more enthusiastically. John sweetened the pot hoping others would follow.
See also: pot, sweeten

sweeten (up) the deal

Fig. to make a bargain or a business transaction more appealing by adding value to the transaction. The dealer sweetened the deal by throwing in free car washes. He wasn't willing to do anything to sweeten the deal, so I left. She sweetened up the deal with a little extra money.
See also: deal, sweeten

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

sweeten the kitty

Also, sweeten the pot or deal . Make something financially more attractive, as in I am unable to give you the new title but I could sweeten the kitty a little by giving you a raise . This idiom comes from card games such as poker, where it means "add money to the pool," and uses sweeten in the sense of "make more agreeable." [Slang; c. 1900]
See also: kitty, sweeten

sweeten up

v.
1. To make something sweet or sweeter: The recipe instructs to sweeten up the sauce with a tablespoon of sugar. I usually add some honey to my tea to sweeten it up.
2. To make some offer more appealing: The phone company sweetened up their deal by throwing in a free phone. If you're still unimpressed with our proposal, we can sweeten it up with a great benefits package.
See also: sweeten, up

sweeten

tv. to make a bargain or agreement better or more attractive. Okay, I’ll sweeten the deal. I’ll throw in a lighted mirror on the visor.
References in classic literature ?
Many times nothing was used to sweeten the so-called tea and coffee.
Swallow a spoonful of sody, an' you'll sweeten up wonderful an' be more pleasant company.
As Lowell says, 'The true use of Spenser is as a gallery of pictures which we visit as the mood takes us, and where we spend an hour or two, long enough to sweeten our perceptions, not so long as to cloy them.
Wherever cretins exist, there is a popular belief that the presence of one of these creatures brings luck to a family--a superstition that serves to sweeten lives which, in the midst of a town population, would be condemned by a mistaken philanthropy to submit to the harsh discipline of an asylum.
just lick it up, thou growling bear, and sweeten thy soul
Then, shouldn't you be glad for me to have the same sort of happiness, father, to sweeten my life for me?
Newest Addition to Diet Coke Family Sweetens Summertime for SPLENDA(R) Brand Sweetener Lovers