English Vocabulary Lesson # 153 – To swallow a bitter pill (Idiom)


In this English speaking lesson, from Daily Video Vocabulary you will learn how to use the idiom ‘To swallow a bitter pill. Sometimes we are in a situation where we can’t do anything but accept it the way it is.

The idiom ‘to swallow a bitter pill’ basically means to accept an unpleasant fact or a situation which you can’t change or can’t do anything about it.

As there is nothing you can change about a situation, you accept it as a harsh reality. You have no choice but to accept it and move on. The word ‘bitter’ is used in this idiom to express unpleasantness or something that is not favorable. No one likes the bitter taste of anything they eat. But when you eat something that tastes bitter, you don’t enjoy it and just gulp it down or swallow it.

So when there is something that is extremely hard to accept or deal with, you just accept it the way it is and you do so by swallowing a bitter pill. The word ‘swallow’ in the idiom is a verb as it shows the action of gulping or passing down the throat. ‘Swallowed’ is the past and participle form of ‘swallow’.

For example, when a company decides to close down due to excessive losses, the employees who are going to lose their jobs have no control over the event and must have to accept that they can no longer work for the employer, even though it may be very difficult to accept that fact.

English speaking sentences for practice :

Example 01: Losing the soccer match to juniors was a bitter pill to swallow for the team that always won.

Example 02: When Marc got to know that he was terminally ill, he was devastated and swallowed the bitter pill.

Example 03: Samantha swallowed a bitter pill when she realized her best friend is dating her ex-boyfriend.

Example 04: Not being accepted by the best university was a bitter to swallow for John.

Example 05: After years of struggling and swallowing the bitter pill of not being promoted, Michelle finally got promoted as a manager.

Example 06: Gloria is in need of this job, thus swallows a bitter pill every day when her manager yells at her.

Example 07: Amy swallowed the bitter pill of her failure in her exams and decided to work harder for her next examination.

Example 08 : A cut down in the interest rates on savings by the bank, was a bitter pill to swallow for many low-income investors.

Have you ever swallowed a bitter pill, what was it about?


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