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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Coun Les Lawrence tries to sugar the pill but he is disingenuous.
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.
But to sugar the pill he revealed plans to implement a task group to look at a successor scheme for Tir Mynydd.
It might sugar the pill if you treat your mum to a mini Christmas either before you go or on your return.
At one stage it was the biggest blue chip faller in Europe as investors reacted to the prospect of continuing cost pressures with no profit upgrades to sugar the pill.
And to sugar the pill, Osborne has been crafty enough to find money to freeze council tax if local authorities meet certain demands.
The Chancellor has sought to sugar the pill by signalling another freeze in fuel duties and a new child tax credit, including help for parents who stay at home to look after their youngsters.
To sugar the pill, they sent him the freedom of the borough in a richly-carved casket made of mulberry wood.
And the timescale for raising the pension age to 67 and 68 is now also likely to be accelerated, Mr Osborne tried to sugar the pill by saying the Government would stick to Labour's policies of free eye tests, free bus passes and free prescription charges for pensioners.