sweeten the pill

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sweeten 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 sweetening 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 sweeten the pill first.
See also: pill, sweeten

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
References in periodicals archive ?
To ensure a high-level global response, Eskom sweetened the pill by committing to a 15-year power-purchasing agreement with the winning bidder, in effect establishing a no-risk market for independent producers.
A BUILD-UP in wholesale stocks sweetened the pill for drugs giant AstraZeneca yesterday after competition from generic versions hit sales of ulcer drug Losec.
But O'Neill sweetened the pill for Cheltenham racegoers when he confirmed that Rhinestone Cowboy's hurdling education would continue at the track tomorrow.
Steve McLaren might have sweetened the pill when the pair dined on Friday night but nothing could have truly prepared him for such an anti-climax.
Of course, America's entry into the war sweetened the pill even more for Stalin, as the Nazis aligned themselves with Japan.
He sweetened the pill by promising fresh protection for workers at the congress in Brighton.