pill

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English[edit]

Assorted pills

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle Low German or Middle Dutch pille (whence Dutch pil), probably from Latin pilula.

Noun[edit]

pill (plural pills)

  1. A small, usually cylindrical object designed for easy swallowing, usually containing some sort of medication.
    • 1864, Benjamin Ellis, The Medical Formulary [1]
      Take two pills every hour in the apyrexia of intermittent fever, until eight are taken.
  2. (informal, uncountable, definite, i.e. used with "the") Contraceptive medication, usually in the form of a pill to be taken by a woman; an oral contraceptive pill.
    Jane went on the pill when she left for college.
    She got pregnant one month after going off the pill.
  3. (slang) A comical or entertaining person.
  4. (slang) A contemptible, annoying, or unpleasant person.
    • 1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter IV:
      You see, he's egging Phyllis on to marry Wilbert Cream. [...] And when a man like that eggs, something has to give, especially when the girl's a pill like Phyllis, who always does what Daddy tells her.
    • 2000, Susan Isaacs, Shining Through [2]
      Instead, I saw a woman in her mid-fifties, who was a real pill; while all the others had managed a decent “So pleased,” or even a plain “Hello,” Ginger just inclined her head, as if she was doing a Queen Mary imitation.
  5. (informal) A small piece of any substance, for example a ball of fibres formed on the surface of a textile by rubbing.
    • 1999, Wally Lamb, I Know This Much Is True [3]
      One sleeve, threadbare and loaded with what my mother called “sweater pills,” hung halfway to the floor.
  6. (archaic, baseball slang) A baseball.
    • 2002, John Klima, Pitched Battle: 35 of Baseball's Greatest Duels from the Mound [4]
      Mr. Fisher contributed to the Sox effort when he threw the pill past second baseman Rath after Felsch hit him a comebacker.
  7. (firearms) (informal) a bullet (projectile)
Synonyms[edit]
  • (small object for swallowing): tablet
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
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Verb[edit]

pill (third-person singular simple present pills, present participle pilling, simple past and past participle pilled)

  1. (intransitive, textiles) Of a woven fabric surface, to form small matted balls of fiber.
    • 1997, Jo Sharp, Knitted Sweater Style: Inspirations in Color [5]
      During processing, inferior short fibers (which can cause pilling and itching) are removed to enhance the natural softness of the yarn and to improve its wash-and-wear performance.
  2. To form into the shape of a pill.
    Pilling is a skill rarely used by modern pharmacists.
  3. To medicate with pills.
    She pills herself with all sorts of herbal medicines.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Latin pilō (depilate), from pilus (hair).

Verb[edit]

pill (third-person singular simple present pills, present participle pilling, simple past and past participle pilled)

  1. (obsolete) To peel; to remove the outer layer of hair, skin, or bark.
  2. To peel; to make by removing the skin.
    • Bible, Genesis xxx. 37
      [Jacob] pilled white streaks [] in the rods.
  3. To be peeled; to peel off in flakes.
  4. (obsolete) To pillage; to despoil or impoverish.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book XXI:
      he saw and harkened by the moonelyght how that pyllours and robbers were com into the fylde to pylle and to robbe many a full noble knyght []
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Spenser to this entry?)

Noun[edit]

pill (plural pills)

  1. The peel or skin.
    • Holland
      Some be covered over with crusts, or hard pills, as the locusts.

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English *pill, *pyll, from Old English pyll (a pool, pill), from Proto-Germanic *pullijaz (small pool, ditch, creek), diminutive of Proto-Germanic *pullaz (pool, stream), from Proto-Indo-European *bale- (bog, marsh). Cognate with Old English pull (pool, creek), Scots poll (slow moving stream, creek, inlet), Icelandic pollur (pond, pool, puddle). More at pool.

Noun[edit]

pill (plural pills)

  1. (now UK regional) An inlet on the coast; a small tidal pool or bay.

Estonian[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Noun[edit]

pill (genitive pilli, partitive pilli)

  1. (music) instrument
Declension[edit]
Synonyms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Noun[edit]

pill (genitive pilli, partitive pilli)

  1. (medicine) pill
Declension[edit]
Synonyms[edit]

Scottish Gaelic[edit]

Noun[edit]

pill m

  1. genitive singular of peall