sugar-coat 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-coat 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 sugar-coating 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 sugar-coat the pill first.
See also: pill
References in periodicals archive ?
If the boss says it is not good enough, it is not good enough, and there is no point in sugar-coating the pill.
To be fair, though, the pair were pretty kind to the amateurs - often sugar-coating the pills of rejection: "It's not an accomplished dish," for example, seemed to be Torode's way of saying he thought a particular dish was quite dreadful, while Wallace, discussing a soup which obviously wasn't even so-so, told its creator: "I wish I could love it" (translation: I wish I could love it - but I can't because it's horrible).