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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
To say, explain, or present something in a manner that is easier to accept, understand, cope with, or endure. Don't sugarcoat it for me, Doc—is my wife going to make it? My grandmother was never one to sugarcoat her criticisms. If she thought you had messed up, she would tell you in no uncertain terms.
Said, explained, or presented in a manner that is easier to accept, understand, cope with, or endure. Stop giving me sugarcoated responses whenever I ask about the state of the project. I need to know how it's actually progressing! It doesn't have to be sugarcoated, but you should aim to be a bit more empathetic when you deliver a prognosis to one of you patients.
mod. palatable; inoffensive; easy to take. Math is so sugarcoated these days. Even I could learn it.