See also: Pill and píll

English edit

 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.
    • 1975, “The Pill”, in Back to the Country, performed by Loretta Lynn:
      I'm tearing down your brooder house / 'Cause now I've got the pill
    • 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. 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[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. (slang) A comical or entertaining person.
  6. (textile) A small piece of any substance, for example a ball of fibres formed on the surface of a textile fabric by rubbing. Colloquially known as a bobble, fuzzball, or lint ball.
    • 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.
  7. (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[5]:
      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 containing a brief text caption 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[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. (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.

Noun edit

pill (plural pills)

  1. (obsolete) The peel or skin.
    • 1575, Jacques du Fouilloux, “Of the Termes of Venery”, in George Gascoigne, transl., The Noble Art of Venerie or Hunting. [], London: [] Thomas Purfoot, published 1611, →OCLC, page 244:
      His [a hart's] head when it commeth firſt out, hath a ruſſet pyll vpon it, the which is called Veluet, []. When his head is growne out to the full bigneſſe, then he rubbeth of that pyll, and that is called fraying of his head. And afterwards he Burniſheth the ſame, and then his head is ſaid to be full ſommed.
    • 1601, C[aius] Plinius Secundus [i.e., Pliny the Elder], “(please specify |book=I to XXXVII)”, in Philemon Holland, transl., The Historie of the World. Commonly Called, The Naturall Historie of C. Plinius Secundus. [], (please specify |tome=1 or 2), London: [] Adam Islip, published 1635, →OCLC:
      Some be covered with crusts or hard pills, as the locust
    • 1682, A perfect school of Instructions for the Officers of the Mouth:
      To make Sallet of Lemon pill, or green Citron. You must have your Lemon Pill preserved very green, Rasp it into a Dish, and raise it up lightly with a Fork []

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

From Proto-Finnic *pilli.

Noun edit

pill (genitive pilli, partitive pilli)

  1. (music) instrument
Declension edit
Synonyms edit

Etymology 2 edit

Borrowed from German Pille.

Noun edit

pill (genitive pilli, partitive pilli)

  1. (medicine) pill
Declension edit
Synonyms edit

Irish edit

Pronunciation edit

Etymology 1 edit

Through reinterpretation of /fʲ/ as the lenition of /pʲ/.

Verb edit

pill (present analytic pilleann, future analytic pillfidh, verbal noun pilleadh, past participle pillte)

  1. Ulster form of fill (return)
Conjugation edit

Etymology 2 edit

See the etymology of the corresponding lemma form.

Noun edit

pill

  1. inflection of peall:
    1. vocative/genitive singular
    2. nominative/dative plural

Mutation edit

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

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.

Swedish edit

Noun edit

pill n

  1. (colloquial) finicky or fiddly activity
    Det är alltid sånt pill med gräsklipparen
    The lawn mower is always so finicky
    Det är alltid sånt pill att sy fast knappar
    It's always so fiddly to sew buttons on
    Det är mycket pill nu
    There's a lot of finicky work right now

Usage notes edit

Could be translated as "finickness" or "finick" (finicky activity) if any of those were used in English. See pilla for intuition.

Declension edit

Declension of pill 
Uncountable
Indefinite Definite
Nominative pill pillet
Genitive pills pillets

Related terms edit

References edit