pill

1 of 3

verb (1)

pilled; pilling; pills

intransitive verb

dialectal, chiefly England : to come off in flakes or scales : peel

transitive verb

1
archaic : to subject to depredation or extortion
2
dialect : to peel or strip off

pill

2 of 3

noun

1
a
: a usually medicinal or dietary preparation in a small rounded mass to be swallowed whole
b
or Pill : birth control pill
usually used with the
2
: something repugnant or unpleasant that must be accepted or endured
3
: something resembling a pill in size or shape
4
: a disagreeable or tiresome person

pill

3 of 3

verb (2)

pilled; pilling; pills

transitive verb

1
: to dose with pills
2

intransitive verb

: to become rough with or mat into little balls
brushed woolens often pill

Examples of pill in a Sentence

Noun She took a pill for her headache. The drug is available as a pill or a liquid.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The 100% polyester microfleece lining is super soft and won’t pill after washing. Katrina Cossey, Parents, 12 Feb. 2024 And wool, as another example, tends to pill over time, no matter how high quality the wool is. Alida Nugent, Peoplemag, 8 Jan. 2024 What to Consider The fabric may pill after a few washes. Sarah Kester, Travel + Leisure, 3 Jan. 2024 The fabric may pill after a few washes. Sarah Kester, Travel + Leisure, 3 Jan. 2024 Synthetic fabrics and garments made from a blend of multiple fibers are more likely to pill, as are those made with a looser weave. Maria Sabella, Better Homes & Gardens, 2 Aug. 2023 The lightweight Berke Hood provides ample coverage but keeps skiers especially warm, and it’s made of sweat-wicking fabric that won’t pill on you. Lydia Price, Travel + Leisure, 27 Nov. 2023 Keep in mind that, on top of not doing well during our sandpaper test, these sheets had already begun to pill after just a few washes. Andrea Wurzburger, Better Homes & Gardens, 13 Oct. 2023 That said, certain materials are less likely to pill than others, such as cashmere, but these fabrics are usually a bit more expensive than your standard cotton, polyester, or rayon blend. Madison Yauger, Peoplemag, 20 Sep. 2023
Noun
The number of fentanyl pills seized by law enforcement continues to rise as the drug consumes illicit narcotics operations. Jenna Barackman, Kansas City Star, 23 Feb. 2024 Isolating and analyzing gonadotropin-releasing hormone, for instance, sped along scientists’ understanding of the hormonal control of the menstrual cycle, and ultimately the development of birth control pills and of hormonal therapies for prostate cancer. Eryn Brown, Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2024 Instead, the officer turned over the drugs found inside the car — 57 pounds of meth and 20,000 fentanyl pills — to be used as evidence in court. Beth Warren, The Courier-Journal, 21 Feb. 2024 Patients who took handfuls of pills every day before are now treatment-free. Theresa Gaffney, STAT, 21 Feb. 2024 Piping-hot inflation data released Tuesday proved a tough pill for traders to swallow. Krystal Hur, CNN, 15 Feb. 2024 Next to Ludwig’s purse on the vanity in the master bathroom was a cut straw, powder residue, a small plastic bag of a substance believed to be cocaine and other plastic baggies holding pills that resembled M-30s, according to the affidavit. Emerson Clarridge, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 13 Feb. 2024 The amount of a pill that reaches the bloodstream can vary because of liver and kidney function and other differences. Carla K. Johnson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Feb. 2024 But the season has nonetheless been a triumph for a school that for years did not have a basketball team and for a player who thought his college dreams had been dashed by the coronavirus pandemic, an addiction to over-the-counter pills, and the grind of financial stress. Katherine Rosman, New York Times, 10 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pill.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb (1)

Middle English pilen, pillen, partly from Old English pilian to peel, partly from Anglo-French piler to rob

Noun

Middle English pylle, from Anglo-French pile & Middle Dutch pille, both ultimately from Latin pilula, from diminutive of pila ball

First Known Use

Verb (1)

12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

1736, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pill was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near pill

Cite this Entry

“Pill.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pill. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

pill

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: medicine or a food supplement in a small rounded mass to be swallowed whole
b
often capitalized : an oral contraceptive
usually used with the
2
: something resembling a pill in shape or size
3
: something unpleasant that must be accepted or endured
4
: an unpleasant or tiresome person

pill

2 of 2 verb
of a garment
: to develop small balls of fiber on the surface because of wear

Medical Definition

pill

noun
1
: a usually medicinal or dietary preparation in a small rounded mass to be swallowed whole
2
often capitalized : birth control pill
usually used with the
has been on the pill for three years

More from Merriam-Webster on pill

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