bitter medicine

bitter medicine or bitter pill


  • something which is difficult to accept
  • a fact that is hard to come to terms with but usually leaves no choice in relation of acceptance
  • unrelated to actual medicines or their taste, this is a representation of having to swallow (accept) something not likable for the greater good.

Example Sentences

  1. The workers had to take the bitter medicine of a pay cut instead of the company shutting down because of the heavy competition that they face.
  2. The bitter medicine of exercising at 5 in the morning is much better than being bed ridden for several years.
  3. His favourite food is not available so he took the bitter medicine of having what his mother had cooked for everyone at home.
  4. I took the bitter medicine of quitting my job when I had my baby, but the joy in her eyes when playing with me makes everything worth the while.
  5. The old man swallowed the bitter medicine of leaving his family behind because he could not see the pain in their eyes for him anymore.
  6. Reduced salaries are a dose of bitter medicine the companies will have to accept for their survival


The phrase is speculated to have originated from the unpleasant taste of medicines which are meant to cure and heal but the literary origin of this phrase cannot be traced accurately.


  • bitter pill
  • a bitter pill to swallow

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