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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
a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
Something good makes something bad more tolerable. I'm going to put on some fun background music while I work on this boring project because a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
A pill that does not contain medicine (and may not even contain sugar, as the term "sugar pill" is used broadly); a placebo. Some patients in the clinical trial will receive the medication, while others will receive sugar pills.
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.
The US government. The image of "Uncle Sam" is known for appearing on US army recruitment posters. It seems like Uncle Sam is always taking more and more taxes out of our paychecks.
give someone some sugar
Rur. to give someone a kiss. Come here, honey, and give me some sugar. "Give me some sugar!" Grandma said when she saw me.
*sweet as honeyand sweeter than honey; sweet as sugar
very sweet; charming. (*Also: as ~.) Larry's words were sweeter than honey as he tried to convince Alice to forgive him. Jill: Is Mary Ann nice? Jane: Yes, indeed. She's as sweet as honey. Your little girl is darling! Just as sweet as sugar.
A wealthy, usually older man who gives expensive gifts to someone much younger in return for companionship or sexual favors. For example, The aspiring young actress and the sugar daddy are a classic combination in Hollywood. The sugar in this term alludes to the sweetening role of the gifts, and daddy to the age difference between the pair. [Early 1900s]
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]
sugar the pillBRITISH or
sugar-coat the pillAMERICAN
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.
sugar (or sweeten) the pillmake an unpleasant or painful necessity more acceptable.
The image here is of making bitter-tasting medicine more palatable by adding sugar.
sugar/sweeten the ˈpillmake something unpleasant seem less unpleasant: He tried to sweeten the pill by telling her she’d only be in hospital a few days.
a ˈsugar daddy(informal) an older man who has a much younger woman as a girlfriend and gives her presents, money, etc: When you tell him that he’s a sugar daddy, he gets very angry. He says she isn’t interested in his money, only in him.
Uncle ˈSam(informal) a way of referring to the United States of America or the US government: He owed $20 000 in tax to Uncle Sam.The name probably comes from expanding the initials US.
To make maple syrup or maple sugar by boiling maple sap: The farmer had gathered all the sap, and it was now time to sugar off.
n. an older man who takes care of a younger person, especially a young man or woman. Mr. Wilson is sort of a sugar daddy to the whole team.
Uncle (Sam)and Uncle Sugar
1. n. the personification of the U.S. Uncle Sugar wants a little more of your money this year.
2. n. a federal agent; federal agents. Uncle has some pretty strong ideas about who’s in charge of this investigation.
See Uncle Sam