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A Bitter Pill to Swallow - Idiom

Video Overview

In this video I explain the idiom ‘a bitter pill to swallow’ and tell you what it means with examples in workplace and social situations so that you’ll come away from this video understanding it and being more confident about using it in a difficult situation. You’ll be able to use this Business English idiom in the workplace and in social contexts.

Video Analysis

Here are some examples you might hear in everyday situations.

  1. The reality that his father has moved out and wasn’t coming back was a bitter pill to swallow.

  2. She worked hard all year so she could have an incredible holiday. So the fact that her money had been stolen from her hotel room was a bitter pill to swallow.

  3. For some people, discovering that they have a learning disability like dyslexia is a bitter pill to swallow, but it shouldn't be.

When you speak about something being a bitter pill to swallow, it usually means you wish things were different, but you need to accept reality.

Here are some more examples in a buisness context.

  1. The fact that we have invested hundreds of Euro in this scheme with very little ROI is a bitter pill to swallow.

  2. Even though it is a bitter pill to swallow, we need to face the reality that our CEO has resigned.

  3. Our biggest competitor has more than 55% of the market share, that is the reality, although it is a bitter pill to swallow.

Picture this: You are in a meeting and one of your colleagues has been very excited about their new project. Unfortunately, you have just received the data and the new project isn't performing very well. You know your colleague will be disappointed and will find it difficult to accept the facts. It’s going to be ‘a bitter pill for them to swallow’.

Have you ever heard someone say 'it was a bitter pill to swallow?' You might have heard it in work when someone had to accept a difficult fact or in a social situation when you are faced with a difficult or painful truth.


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