pill

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Pill and píll

English[edit]

Wikipedia-logo.png
 pill on Wikipedia
Assorted pills

Pronunciation[edit]

  • enPR: pĭl, IPA(key): /pɪl/, [pʰɪɫ]
    • (file)
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪl

Etymology 1[edit]

Noun[edit]

pill (plural pills)

  1. (broadly) A small, usually round or 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.
    Hyponyms: tablet, caplet, capsule, lozenge
    1. (strictly) Such an object that is of solid constitution (usually of compressed, bonded powder) rather than a capsule (with a shell containing loose powder or liquid).
      Hyponyms: tablet, caplet, lozenge
      Coordinate term: capsule
  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. Something offensive, unpleasant or nauseous which must be accepted or endured.
    • 1907, E.M. Forster, The Longest Journey, Part I, III [Uniform ed., p. 45]:
      "It's a sad unpalatable truth," said Mr. Pembroke, thinking that the despondency might be personal, "but one must accept it. My sister and Gerald, I am thankful to say, have accepted it, so naturally it has been a little pill."
  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. (slang) A comical or entertaining person.
  6. (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.
  7. (archaic, baseball slang) A baseball.
    • 1931, Canadian National Magazine
      "Strike two!" bawled the umpire. I threw the pill back to Tom with a heart which drummed above the noise of the rooters along the side lines.
    • 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.
  8. (firearms, slang) A bullet (projectile).
  9. (graphical user interface) A rounded rectangle indicating the tag or category that an item belongs to.
Usage notes[edit]

The word pill referring to a swallowable unit conveying a dose of medication is polysemic in that it has a broad sense and a narrower sense: broadly, it means any such object, including any tablet or capsule, whereas narrowly, it means a tablet (including the caplet type of tablet) but not a capsule. But the broad sense of the word is widely used in general vocabulary, and also in the medical and nursing literature; linguistically this is predictably inevitable, because natural language has a practical need for a simple hypernym that intuitively covers all such oral dosage forms, and the word pill provides one by long-established idiomatic convention, with no alternative synonym that is thus established. Thus, trying to enforce a usage prescription that insists that the word must never be used in its broad sense is counterproductive to clear and concise communication. This is why some publications' style sheets specify that the words tablet, caplet, and capsule will be used wherever technical precision is needed and that the word pill will be reserved for contexts where the technical precision is irrelevant because the hypernymic concept is clearly meant, as for example in an instruction to ask the patient whether they remember taking all their pills this morning.

Synonyms[edit]
  • (small object for swallowing): tablet
  • (bullet): cap
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

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. (transitive) To medicate with pills.
    She pills herself with all sorts of herbal medicines.
  4. (transitive, Internet slang) To persuade or convince someone of something.
  5. (transitive, UK, slang, dated) To blackball (a potential club member).
    • 1907, Arthur Griffiths, Clubs and Clubmen (page 260)
      “I pilled him because he is a liar,” said Thackeray. “He calls himself 'ill' when he isn't.”
Translations[edit]
References[edit]
  • (blackball): 1873, John Camden Hotten, The Slang Dictionary

Etymology 2[edit]

From Latin pilō (depilate), from pilus (hair). Doublet of peel.

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.
  3. To be peeled; to peel off in flakes.
  4. (obsolete) To pillage; to despoil or impoverish.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, “iiij”, in Le Morte Darthur, book XXI:
      So syr Lucan departed for he was greuously wounded in many places And so as he yede he sawe and herkened by the mone lyght how that pyllars and robbers were comen in to the felde To pylle and robbe many a ful noble knyghte of brochys and bedys of many a good rynge & of many a ryche Iewel / and who that were not deed al oute
      (please add an English translation of this quote)
    • c. 1587–1588, [Christopher Marlowe], Tamburlaine the Great. [] The First Part [], part 1, 2nd edition, London: [] [R. Robinson for] Richard Iones, [], published 1592, OCLC 932920499; reprinted as Tamburlaine the Great (A Scolar Press Facsimile), Menston, Yorkshire; London: Scolar Press, 1973, →ISBN, Act III, scene iii:
      The Galles and thoſe pilling Briggandines,
      That yeerely ſaile to the Uenetian goulfe,
      And houer in the ſtraightes for Chriſtians wracke,
      Shall lie at anchor in the Iſle Aſant.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938, book 6, canto 10:
      And there by her were poured forth at fill,
      As if, this to adorne, she all the rest did pill

Noun[edit]

pill (plural pills)

  1. (obsolete) The peel or skin.

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 *bl̥nos (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.

Albanian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

A form of pidh from Proto-Albanian *pizda, from Proto-Indo-European *písdeh₂ (pudenda). Cognate to Lithuanian pyzdà (pudenda) and Russian пизда (pizda, pudenda)

Noun[edit]

pill

  1. vagina
  2. cunt (vulgar)

Synonyms[edit]


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

Mutation[edit]

Scottish Gaelic mutation
Radical Lenition
pill phill
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.