1. as a pill-shaped, i.e. round, object.
(a) [early 17C+] a cannon-ball, bomb or shell; thus [1950s] big pill, the atomic bomb.
(b) [late 17C; late 19C+] in pl., the testicles.
(c) [mid-19C] (US Und.) a counterfeit coin.
(d) [late 19C–1900s] in pl., billiards.
(e) [late 19C+] a bullet.
(f) [1900s] (US Und.) the pea or similar object used in a shell game under shell n.
(g) [20C+] (orig. US) any form of ball, esp. a basketball.
(h) [1910s] (US) in pl., dice.
2. [mid-19C] (UK Und.) a knife [? when used on a victim/enemy it achieves a ‘cure’ for one’s problem].
3. in senses of pills being generically unpleasant.
(a) [mid-19C–1910s] anything unpleasant; suffering, punishment; the term is ‘endless in application’ (Ware).
(b) [mid-19C+] an unpleasant person, a weakling, a bore.
(c) [late 19C] something unfashionable.
(d) [late 19C; 1950s] (also pills) a man, a person.
(e) [1900s] (US campus) a hard-working student; a teacher who makes the students work hard.
4. (drugs) a portion or measure of a drug.
(a) [mid-19C–1960s] (drugs) a ‘pill’ of opium.
(b) [1900s] morphine.
(c) [1930s+] a pill of heroin.
(d) [1950s+] (drugs) a generic term for any form of barbiturate or amphetamine drug capsule.
(e) [1950s+] (orig. US drugs) a marijuana cigarette.
5. [mid-19C–1920s; 1990s+] (orig. milit., also pills) a doctor, a surgeon; one who deals with or dispenses medicines.
6. in sense of ‘curing’ one’s ills.
(a) [late 19C–1930s] a drink.
(b) [1910s–60s] a cigarette or cigar; thus pill mill, a cigar factory; pill-smoker, a cigarette smoker.
[1960s+] (drugs) under the influence of amphetamines or barbiturates.
[1980s+] (drugs) experiencing the effect of some form of pill, e.g. an amphetamine or barbiturate.
[1920s–50s] (drugs) an opium smoker.
[late 19C] a hospital.
[1960s+] (drugs) a heavy user of pills, e.g. amphetamines, barbiturates.
[1960s+] (drugs) a regular user of amphetamine or barbiturate drugs.
[1960s] (drugs) a drug dealer.
[1980s+] (US) a doctor’s surgery, usu. in a ghetto area, in which the bulk of prescriptions are written for drugs which are then sold in the street.
1. [late 19C+] an opium den, a place where opium users can gather to smoke.
2. [1970s] (US drugs) a gathering place for heroin users.
[1940s+] (drugs) a regular user of any drugs in pill form.
taking pills, addicted to pills; also as adj.
[late 19C] (Aus.) a chemist, a pharmacist.
[1910s–60s] a doctor.
[1900s] an opium den.
[20C+] (drugs) an opium pill.
[mid-19C] to be dismissed from a job.
[1960s+] (UK drugs) to take amphetamines.
[late 19C+] rubbish! nonsense!
SE in slang uses
see separate entry.
[mid-18C; mid-19C–1900s] a travelling apothecary or doctor.
[mid-19C+] a pharmacist.
1. [late 19C] a doctor.
2. [20C+] a pharmacist.
see above pill driver
[late 19C-1930s] a doctor.
[late 19C–1910s] a doctor.
1. a doctor; thus pill-rolling adj.
2. a pharmacist.
see under drop v.1
an imper. suggesting somebody calms down.