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Assorted pills



Pill (plural Pills)
  1. A small portion of a drug or drugs to be taken orally, usually of roughly cylindrical shape, often coated to prolong dissolution or ease swallowing.
    • 1864, Benjamin Ellis, The Medical Formulary [1]
      Take two pills every hour in the apyrexia of intermittent fever, until eight are taken.
  2. the pill: A combination of estrogen and progestin in pill form, which functions as a contraceptive.
    • 1986, Jurriaan Plesman, Getting Off the Hook: Treatment of Drug Addiction and Social Disorders Through Body and Mind [2]
      Many specialists are requesting that this vitamin be included in all contraceptive pills, as women on the pill have a tendency to be depressed.
  3. A comical or entertaining person.
  4. A contemptible, annoying, or unpleasant person.
    • 2000, Susan Isaacs, Shining Through [3]
      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. 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 [4]
      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 [5]
      Mr. Fisher contributed to the Sox effort when he threw the pill past second baseman Rath after Felsch hit him a comebacker.
  7. (obsolete) A small inlet or creek of a tidal river, especially one with a landing stage or wharf.


  • (small portion of a drug): tablet

Derived terms


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 [6]
      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.


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. (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 [...].

Adjectives for Pill

gilded; bitter; curative; magic.


IUD, SOB, bag, bastard, birth control device, bolus, bore, bugger, butt, buttonholer, capsule, condom, contraceptive, contraceptive foam, cough drop, crank, crashing bore, creep, cure, diaphragm, drag, drip, drug, dryasdust, dusty, fag, fart, flat tire, frightful bore, headache, heel, hood, hooligan, humdrum, intrauterine device, jerk, louse, lozenge, meanie, medicament, medication, medicine, mother, nuisance, oral contraceptive, pastille, pellet, pessary, pest, pharmaceutical, prophylactic, proser, rat, remedy, rubber, shit, shithead, shitheel, skin, smoke, spermicidal jelly, spermicide, stinkard, stinker, tablet, the pill, troche, turd, twaddler, wet blanket


Etymology 1

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

Etymology 2

Latin pilare ‘depilate’, from pilus ‘hair’.

Etymology 3

Old English pyll.



The translations below need to be checked.



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