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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
span xml:lang="EN-GB'WEDDING OF THE YEAR' span xml:lang="EN-GBI'm not against any woman opting to take up her husband's name, but let it be because it is her choice and not be forced down their throats like bitter medicine. span xml:lang="EN-GBKirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru's marriage to city lawyer Kamotho Waiganjo hit the headlines in July and their union was dubbed 'wedding of the year'.
Talk about getting a dose of one's own bitter medicine!
Nevertheless, now that the difficult decisions are finally being made, and the bitter medicine is being served, the government must show its resolve.
Although adherence to these regulations is beneficial considering the long-term impact of chemicals on the environment, a cost escalation is the bitter medicine in the short run.
Like the discomfort of a bitter medicine, depression will dissuade you from seeking treatment.
"Increasing prices of newspapers is a necessary bitter medicine that we must consider and take."
The Black Cats may have to swallow some bitter medicine in deciding the future of Kone, Djilobodji and others unless a willing buyer appears before the end of August.
If someone said, 'That's a hard pill to swallow', the person would in most cases not be alluding to bitter medicine (quinine being one of those that springs to mind immediately).
But the NHS in North Wales is itself a sick patient and needs a dose of very bitter medicine if it is to be nursed back to financial health".
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.
"Bitter medicine for the general public and sweet medicine for the ministers from Dr.