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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

sugarcoat (something)

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.
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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.
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mod. palatable; inoffensive; easy to take. Math is so sugarcoated these days. Even I could learn it.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Hypothesis 2: Organizational norms for negative information are positively related to mum sugarcoating.
Therefore, it seems high self-monitors are more likely than their low self-monitor counterparts to engage in mum behavior, both avoidance and sugarcoating.
Hypothesis 4: Self-monitoring is positively related to mum sugarcoating.
Hypothesis 6: Self-monitoring will moderate the relationship between organizational norms and mum in the form of sugarcoating such that there will be a stronger, positive relation for high self-monitors, since these individuals will mum more as organizational norms for sharing negative information increase.
When predicting sugarcoating, females were more likely to sugarcoat than males, and extraverts engaged in less sugarcoating behavior.
Further, this study provides empirical evidence that individuals may be susceptible to different types of mum since the mum effect may manifest itself in a variety of ways such as sugarcoating information to make it seem more positive, or completely avoiding a situation, which merits giving negative news.