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pill

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Assorted pills

English

Pronunciation

Etymology 1

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

Noun

Singular
pill

Plural
{{{1}}}

pill ({{{1}}})
  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. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) 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.
Translations
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Verb

Infinitive
to pill

Third person singular
-

Simple past
-

Past participle
-

Present participle
-

to pill (third-person singular simple present -, present participle -, simple past and past participle -)
  1. (intransitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) 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.

Etymology 2

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

Verb

Infinitive
to pill

Third person singular
-

Simple past
-

Past participle
-

Present participle
-

to pill (third-person singular simple present -, present participle -, simple past and past participle -)
  1. (obsolete) To peel; to remove the outer layer of hair, skin, or bark.
  2. (obsolete) To pillage; to despoil or impoverish.

Related terms

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