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bitter pill

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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bitter pill
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  • I am told it has been the most bitter pill for the K—— to swallow, and nothing but necessity has induced him.

  • But "making the best of it" is indeed a bitter pill, for she is not his style of woman.

    Jolly Sally Pendleton Laura Jean Libbey
  • This has been a bitter pill, but I am glad to say that they have accepted it bravely.

    The Longest Journey E. M. Forster
  • I have swallowed the bitter pill and now I am gasping for breath.

  • Yes; doubtless a bitter pill for his majesty to swallow, laughed Rosie.

    Elsie at Ion Martha Finley
  • It was a bitter pill to have to go down and consult with Canker, but he did not know what else to do.

    Under Fire Charles King

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