a bitter pill

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a bitter pill

An unwanted or unpleasant situation that someone is forced to accept. A shortening of the phrase, "a bitter pill to swallow." When Brett's parents stopped giving him money to pay his bills and told him to get a job, it was a bitter pill for him to swallow. Getting a poor performance review was a bitter pill, but it made me a better worker.
See also: bitter, pill

a bitter pill to swallow

An unwanted or unpleasant situation that someone is forced to accept. A pronoun for the person in such a situation can be mentioned between "pill" and "to," as in "a bitter pill for her to swallow." When Brett's parents stopped giving him money to pay his bills and told him to get a job, it was a bitter pill for him to swallow. Getting a poor performance review was a bitter pill to swallow, but it made me a better worker.
See also: bitter, pill, swallow

a bitter pill to swallow

or

a bitter pill

COMMON If a fact or a situation is a bitter pill to swallow or a bitter pill, it is difficult or unpleasant to accept. Their chief executive said the failure to win the contract was a bitter pill to swallow. I'm not going to tell you this is not a bitter pill for the armed forces, because clearly it is. Note: You can say that someone swallows a bitter pill if they have to accept something difficult or unpleasant. Our people have swallowed a bitter pill in accepting this peace agreement.
See also: bitter, pill, swallow

a bitter pill (to swallow)

an unpleasant or painful necessity (to accept).
1996 European The move, while not entirely unexpected, has been a bitter pill to swallow.
See also: bitter, pill

a bitter ˈpill (for somebody) (to swallow)

a thing that is very difficult or unpleasant to accept: He was a proud man, so having to ask for money must have been a bitter pill to swallow.
See also: bitter, pill
References in periodicals archive ?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government likens his twin measures of demonetisation and the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to bitter medicine that the economy necessarily had to take to get on a higher growth path.
One of the four governors, Laidy Gomez, likened it to humbly swallowing bitter medicine with the longer-term goal of healing.
It is bitter medicine to swallow, but it is also long overdue.
These measures were like bitter medicine, but it was necessary to recover the economy," Elbeblawi said.
Some hard-to swallow powders and bitter medicine were given.
It is the spoonful of sugar to help the bitter medicine of more austerity go down.
In the process, she has provided a human face for an institution often associated with the prescription of bitter medicine.
In the meantime, the bitter medicine provided by the Eurasian Economic Union to the people of Kyrgyzstan is relatively new; citizens have yet to see any great healing effects in their lives from this union.
Kayhan, a newspaper that serves as the voice of the supreme leader, declared, "The super-terrorist had a taste of its own bitter medicine.
We should not see it as bitter medicine, but as the first step in a massive motion of grace aiming toward the fulfillment of what this land is meant and called to be.
We have to drink this bitter medicine of military courts as we cannot provide protection to key witnesses and judges and under this air of fear judges cannot perform their duty.
Merkel, for her part, insists that if cash-strapped Greece wants more bailout loans, the biggest share of which is financed by Germany, it must accept the bitter medicine of spending cuts and reforms.
It's sickening those who work in the NHS are forced to swallow the bitter medicine of austerity when the financial mess was created by the very bankers the Coalition now champions.
Prime minister Narendra Modi has already hinted at a tough budget saying recently that the nation must be ready for a dose of bitter medicine in order to revive the ailing economy.