bitter pill

noun
a distressing experience or result that is hard to accept (often in the expression a bitter pill to swallow ): Being passed over for promotion was a bitter pill to swallow.
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Example sentences
In some ways their success was an even more bitter pill to swallow.
The idea of paying real money for a hands-on preview of a game might be a
  bitter pill for frugal gamers.
Even for many researchers in the field, this was a bitter pill to swallow.
He said it's a bitter pill to swallow, but the problem has to be fixed.
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