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pill 1 (pĭl)
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n.
1. A small pellet or tablet of medicine, often coated, taken by swallowing whole or by chewing.
2. Informal An oral contraceptive. Used with the.
3. Slang Something, such as a baseball, that resembles a pellet of medicine.
4. Something both distasteful and necessary.
5. Slang An insipid or ill-natured person.
v. pilled, pil·ling, pills
v.tr.
1. To dose with pills.
2. To make into pills.
3. Slang To blackball.
v.intr.
To form small balls resembling pills: a sweater that pills.

[Middle English pille, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German pille and Old French pile, all from Latin pilula, diminutive of pila, ball; see PELLET.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
pill 2 (pĭl)
Share:
v. pilled, pil·ling, pills
v.intr.
Chiefly British
To come off, as in flakes or scales.
v.tr.
Archaic
To subject to extortion.

[Middle English pillen, to plunder, peel, from Old English pilian; see PEEL1 and from Old French piller, to plunder; see PILLAGE.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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