Meaning of Brown the pill

What is Browning the pill:

To "brown the pill" means to soften, disguise, or sweeten bad news.

The expression is of old date in the Spanish language. Already Sebastián de Covarrubias in the 16th century pointed out that apothecaries, to hide the bitter taste of the pills, used to coat them with a sweet substance.

The pills were then brought to the fire to brown them. Hence, to brown the pill is to prepare it to avoid the bitter pill to the patient.

Thus, then, the phrase “gild the pill” was established to indicate the fact of attenuating the negative effect of an unpleasant news, mitigating it with other types of devices that would make it more bearable for the person.

To brown the pill is, therefore, to make a novelty or event less unpleasant or bitter, even to prevent the person to whom it is communicated from having a very strong reaction.

We gild the pill, for example, to the child that we have to take to the dentist, promising that we will then take him to the park to play.

We brown the pill, for example, when we buy a gift for a friend before telling him the not-so-good news that he has to vacate the apartment we share.

In this way, browning the pill is also presenting something hard more gently as a precaution against a bad reaction from the person.

In English, a possible translation for “gild the pill” could be “soften the blow", Which means 'soften the blow'.

Tags:  Religion-And-Spirituality General Expressions-Popular