Green’s Dictionary of Slang

pill n.

1. as a pill-shaped, i.e. round, object.

(a) a cannon-ball, bomb or shell; thus big pill, the atomic bomb.

[UK]Dick of Devonshire in Bullen II (1883) II i: I have halfe a score pills for my Spanyards better then purging comfitts .
[UK] in Gent’s Mag. Jan. 40/1: I gave him a few of my lower-deck pills, and sent him running like a lusty fellow, .
[UK] ‘Kelly the Pirate’ in Holloway & Black II (1979) 153: We gave her a few English pills in her tail.
[UK] ‘Little Boney A-cockhorse’ in Holloway & Black II (1979) 188: A dose of their pills they will clap in his gizzard.
[US] ‘Bainbridge’s Tid-Re I’ Jack Tar’s Songster 15: They sent him pills in plenty, O.
[US]G.W. Whitman diary in Civil War Letters 146: The way we poured the pills into them fellows was a caution.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Dec. 11/1: [T]hey expired as a pill / Was tossed from a gun on the opposite hill.
L.N. Smith Lingo of No Man’s Land 64: PILL Term applied indiscriminately for rifle and machine gun bullets, and even larger shells.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 223: Pills: Colloquial for shells or bombs.
[US](con. 1914–18) L. Nason Three Lights from a Match 220: The passengers were thrilled to see a great pile of shells [...] ‘What do they use those pills in?’ asked Joyce.
[US]M. Curtiss Letters Home (1944) 2 Dec. 120: Destroyers just drop charges (‘pills’) all over the place.

(b) in pl., the testicles.

[UK] ‘My Dog and I’ Pepys Ballads (1987) IV 229: If any Maiden troubled be, With over-grown Virginity, I quickly can two Pills apply.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 884/1: C.19–20.
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool 33: Whip down their nut-chokers and give them a blast in the pills.
[UK]L. Gould Shagadelically Speaking 32: I don’t care if he is a bastard, you don’t kick a man in the pills.

(c) (US Und.) a counterfeit coin.

[US]Compiler (Gettysburg, PA) 26 July 3/2: A Dangerous Gang of Counterfeiters [...] In their slang the word ‘pills’ is used to represent bogus coin, and ‘powders’ designates counterfeit paper.

(d) in pl., billiards.

[UK]Westminster Gazette 28 Oct. n.p.: We can play pills then till after lunch.
[UK]‘Bartimeus’ ‘The Seven-Bell Boat’ in A Tall Ship 75: ‘Bunje,’ said the First Lieutenant, ‘come to the club and have tea and play “pills” afterwards?’.

(e) a bullet.

[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 116: If he tries the game below, ’twill be at risk of a dose of cold steel, or an indigestible leaden pill.
[UK]W.S. Walker In the Blood 175: If you’re took, Squiffy, I’ll put a pill in any ‘flat-foot’ as copped yer.
[Aus] in ‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘The Murrumbidgee Shearer’ Old Bush Songs 94: And well they knew I carried it, which they had often seen / A-glistening in my flipper, chaps, a patent pill machine.
see sense 1(a).
[US]D. Hammett ‘The Big Knockover’ Story Omnibus (1966) 302: I had only a dozen pills — six in the gun, six in my pocket.
[UK]V. Davis Gentlemen of the Broad Arrows 38: The screws won’t be able to knock everyone over with those pills they shoot.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Latin Blood’ Speed Detective Aug. [Internet] Your idea was to insert a pill in his conk.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 157/2: Pill. [...] 2. A bullet.
[US]R. Prather Scrambled Yeggs 111: The Special tosses out a pill that’s .358 inches across its fanny.
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 338: The best thing [...] would be to get the pills into the .380 on the way to the heist.
[US]S. Frank Get Shorty [film script] bones: I need you to take this gun and put a pill in the bro over there for me.

(f) (US Und.) the pea or similar object used in a shell game under shell n.

[US]Little Falls Herald (MN) 31 Mar. 3/3: How to Operate the Shell Game with Profit [...] If the spieler should happen to fumble the pill while the dough is up, it is best to cop and blow at once.

(g) (orig. US) any form of ball, esp. a basketball.

[US]Chicago Journal 25 May in Fleming Unforgettable Season (1981) 76: The game will surely terminate as soon as he wallops the pill.
[NZ]Truth (Wellington) 8 July 3: [picture caption] Poneke Places a Pill in Orl’s Optic.
T.A. Dorgan S.F. Call 8 Oct. 3/2: He just put that old pill into the grandstand for a homer.
Bulletin (SF) 22 Oct. 14/5: The mighty pill pounder from Cow Hollow, who has lacerated the feelings of more pine fences than any other slugger in organized baseball, arrived during the night from Chicago.
[US]Ade ‘The New Fable of the Private Agitator’ in Ade’s Fables 21: At the suggestion of an expensive Specialist, he went in for Golf [...] When he swung at the Pill, you expected to hear something Snap.
[UK]Wodehouse Damsel in Distress (1961) 11: There the pill was, grinning up at me from the sand. Of course, strictly speaking, I ought to have used a niblick, but—.
[UK]Wodehouse Clicking of Cuthbert 113: Never does the world seem so sweet [...] as when we have just swatted the pill right on the spot.
[US]H.C. Witwer Fighting Blood 268: We gaily set forth to the courts, or links [...] or whatever it is you smack them little white pills around on.
[US]W. Winchell in Havana Eve. Telegram 26 Oct. 2/2: They were gabbing about the origin of ‘lucky break’ again yesterday [...] One lad thought it came from the pool rooms many years ago. If a player pocketed one or more pills on the first break it was a ‘lucky break’.
[UK](con. 1912) B. Marshall George Brown’s Schooldays 6: As a matter of fact, I think that’s the dirty cad hacking that footer pill over there.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 77: The guys [...] double-teamed on Scar, telling each other the pills [i.e. pool balls] they held.
[US]D. Claerbaut Black Jargon in White America 75: pill n. a basketball.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 107: [of pool balls] Get your hands off the pills, Tex.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 84/1: pill, the rugby ball.
[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 27: [of basketball] Karras [...] sank the pill.
[US]G. Pelecanos Shame the Devil 197: How’d it feel [...] gettin’ the pill bounced off your head and shit, night after night.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].
[US]G. Pelecanos Way Home (2009) 89: Chris had turned his hip and was protecting the pill.

(h) (US) in pl., dice.

[US]T.A. Dorgan Indoor Sports 4 Nov. [synd. cartoon] Aw lay off the war. Let’s roll the pills for a powder.

2. (UK Und.) a knife [? when used on a victim/enemy it achieves a ‘cure’ for one’s problem].

[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Heart of London III iii: james (showing a knife): A steel pill – I comprehend; he will be found, and we get off free.

3. in senses of pills being generically unpleasant.

(a) anything unpleasant; suffering, punishment; the term is ‘endless in application’ (Ware).

[UK] ‘The Lobsters’ Clause’ in C. Hindley James Catnach (1878) 208: I sing, I sing, of the new bill, sir, / That to the people seems a pill, sir.
[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford I 172: Ha, ha! how bitter the mercenary dupes must have felt when the discovery was made! What a pill for the good matrons who had coupled my image with that of some filial Mary or Jane.
[UK]Era 6 June 11/1: He [...] next threw in a pill which made them look 'blue', by offering a 'fee' for even guineas.
[UK]M. Reid Scalp-Hunters II 120: Wagh! that was a stinkin’ pill, an’ no mistake.
[US]B.H. Hall College Words (rev. edn) 353: pill. [...] twaddle, platitude.
[UK]‘George Eliot’ Felix Holt II 81: It’s a bit of a pill for him, too.
[UK]J. Runciman Chequers 204: When Joe proposed trying the other, poor Billy groaned, ‘That’s a pill enough for me, Joe; I shall die if we stand to it any more’.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Arrius’ Punch 26 Dec. 303/1: ’Tain’t whether you say Hill or ’Ill, / It’s whether you’re able to climb it; / and that’s where the prigs get their pill.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 48: pill, n. 4. A hard question in examination. 5. A hard course or lesson.
[US]Sequachee Valley News (TN) 19 Mar. 4/2: It is a bad old law and that is shore, it certainly is a hard old pill.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 196/2: Pill (Street). Dose, suffering, sentence, punishment. Endless in application.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘Mar’ Songs of a Sentimental Bloke 65: Willy! O ’ell! ’Ere wus a flamin’ pill! A moniker that alwus makes me ill.
[UK]Marvel 3 Mar. 6: It’s a nasty pill to swallow, but you’d better make up.

(b) an unpleasant person, a weakling, a bore.

[Ire]W. Carleton ‘The Hedge School’ in Traits and Stories of Irish Peasantry I (1868) 282: I tell you [...] there’s a bad pill* somewhere about us. (*This means a treacherous person who cannot be depended on).
[US]‘Johnny Cross’ ‘The Dead Beat’ Orig. Pontoon Songster 20: There was ‘a gay Pill’ in this city, / Who on the best maiden did live.
[US]F.H. Hart Sazerac Lying Club 151: You’re a nice pill to be talking about the corruptions of the Administration, ain’t you?
[UK]W.S. Maugham Liza of Lambeth (1966) 24: Well you are a pill!
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 48: pill, n. 1. A tiresome, insipid person. 2. A non-fraternity man.
[US]P.G. McLean ‘A Long Shot’ Variety Stage Eng. Plays [Internet] Aren’t I a sweet pill to be writing love stories?
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 200: pill, a bore. ‘He was just a pill so far as attendance on work was concerned.’.
[Ire]L. Doyle Dear Ducks 194: Johnny was a real bad pill.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Hold ’Em, Yale!’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 150: She is an old pill.
[US] ‘Etta Kett in “Endorsed”’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) 36: Aw Etta, don’t be a pill – all the girls in your gang are going in for high-pressure loving.
[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 8: Engaged to England’s premier pill, a girl called Madeline Bassett.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit 186: But for you, I might be engaged to that pill Florence.
[UK]A. Sinclair My Friend Judas (1963) 61: I know. I’m a louse. I’m a pill. I’m terrible.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves in the Offing 36: When the girl’s a pill like Phyllis, who always does what Daddy tells her.
[Ire]J. O’Donoghue In Kerry Long Ago 188: He was a bad pill by all accounts.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 170: A person without much social or academic ability.
[Ire]H. Leonard A Life (1981) Act I: You’re a bitter old pill, and always will be.
[UK]W. Boyd ‘On the Yankee Station’ in On the Yankee Station (1982) 132: He’d have to kick his butt in when he got back, get the pill to keep his distance.
[Can]M. Atwood Cat’s Eye (1989) 208: ‘He’s a pill,’ she says; or ‘What a creep’.
[Ire]R. Doyle Woman Who Walked Into Doors 120: He was different too. He’d become a bitter little pill and a bully.
[US]D. Sedaris When You Are Engulfed in Flames (2009) 177: This makes me feel both cranky and old, the type of pill who says things like, ‘You and that rock!’.

(c) something unfashionable.

[UK] in J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era (1909) 87/1: You mark my words, the horrid old Victorian furniture, especially from 1840 to 1851, will come in. Already spindley Chippendale is a pill.

(d) (also pills) a man, a person.

[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Bad Boy and His Pa (1893) 296: No, he don’t drink; but as near as I can figure it, he and Pa were about the worst pills in the box, when they were young.
[US]C.D. Ferguson Experiences of a Forty-niner 257: How are you, Old Pills?
[US]Ade ‘The New Fable of the Wandering Boy’ in Ade’s Fables 131: It is up to us to show this proud Pill from the City that we can be a bit Goey when the Going is right.
[UK]A. Sinclair My Friend Judas (1963) 144: You won’t tell a pill? Not a pill.

(e) (US campus) a hard-working student; a teacher who makes the students work hard.

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 48: pill, n. 3. A hard student. [...] 6. An instructor who makes his students work hard.

4. (drugs) a portion or measure of a drug.

(a) (drugs) a ‘pill’ of opium.

[UK]Blackwood’s Mag. Nov. n.p.: The Chinese extract from Indian opium all that water will dissolve—generally from one-half to three-fourths of its weight—dry the dissolved extract, and make it into pills of the size of a pea.
[US]G.G. Foster N.Y. by Gas-Light (1990) 109: They are as completely unnerved and prostrated as the drunkard deprived of his dram or the opium-eater of his pill.
[US]Galaxy (N.Y.) 4:1 May 28: Following Napoleon to the St. Helena Station, he had contracted a rheumatism, for which his surgeon prescribed, as a dernier resort, an opium pill.
[UK]Falkirk Herald 6 Apr. 2/1: She scoops out prepared opium from a little gallipot, sticks it on the needle [...] humours the pill with the spatula end of another needle to get it to kindle, and then takes a long pull.
[UK]R. Rowe Picked Up in the Streets 39: She scoops out prepared opium [...] humours the pill with the spatula end of another needle to get it to kindle.
[US] ‘Life in a New York Opium Den’ in T. Byrnes Professional Criminals of America [Internet] The hole of the bowl is thoroughly heated, the needle is pushed entirely into the hole, melts the opium, which now adheres to the bowl; the needle is then twisted out, leaving a small hole through the opium to the opening of the bowl. This mass is termed a pill.
[US]L.J. Beck N.Y.’s Chinatown 155: In the center is a pin hole over which the cooked pill is placed.
[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 129: Guess I’ll go in this hop joint and try a pill.
[US]Amer. Mag. June 31: We intended to leave the moment we finished smoking, but before we had inhaled a dozen pills a heavy knock, peremptory, insistent, sounded on the door.
[UK]‘Sax Rohmer’ Dope 96: The second ‘pill’ was no more than half consumed when a growing feeling of nausea seized upon the novice.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 191: His withered, clawlike hands trembled as he feverishly rolled the first ‘pill,’ a large one.
[US]‘Boxcar Bertha’ Sister of the Road (1975) 116: With the yen hok, a piece the size of a small pea was taken and held over the flame of the lamp, where it changed to a beautiful golden brown color and increased four times in size [...] Next it was ‘shied’ or manipulated into a conical form known as ‘the pill’.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US](con. 1870s) S. Longstreet Pedlocks (1971) 69: He had rolled the little gow hop pill of opium, cooked it [...] and put the sizzling, cooked pill in the pipe.
[US]Larner & Tefferteller Addict in the Street (1966) 140: To make a pill, you’d have to take a little bit on the end of a metal crochet needle and hold it over a flame.
[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 55: He tore a pinch from his plug of opium and rolled a pill in his fingers.
[US](con. 1930s) Courtwright & Des Jarlais Addicts Who Survived 80: They’d roll the pills and everybody would pass it around.

(b) morphine.

[US]F.H. Tillotson How I Became a Detective 94: Pills – Dope; morphine.

(c) a pill of heroin.

[US]W. Winchell ‘On Broadway’ 27 Apr. [synd. col.] He never knows when the yen for a ‘pill’ will grip him – and when it does – he merely puts the narcotic into the spoon – lights a match under it until it melts – sticks a needle into it for filling and then gives himself a shot in the arm.
[UK]‘Raymond Thorp’ Viper 100: I stared popping [...] I took three pills a day at first, now I’m taking twenty .

(d) (drugs) a generic term for any form of barbiturate or amphetamine drug capsule.

[US]M. Richler Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1964) 206: Lennie got me the pills.
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 104: A cluster of pushers gather [...] openly offering pills and maryjane thrills.
[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 185: Have you taken a pill or something?
[UK]J. Campbell Gate Fever 106: There is a little heroin [...] and some pills.
[UK]Guardian G2 11 June 10: A decade of pills, powders and soda-pop culture.
[UK]N. Barlay Hooky Gear 48: Shufflin about, tradin porn, grabbin snout, stealin puff, passin pills.

(e) (orig. US drugs) a marijuana cigarette.

[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.
[SA]A. La Guma Walk in the Night (1968) 77: He took a puff and handed it back to the boy. ‘Come on,’ Foxy said suddenly. ‘That pill’s going in a line. I’m next.’.

5. (orig. milit., also pills) a doctor, a surgeon; one who deals with or dispenses medicines.

[US] ‘Pertaters & Ternups’ in Burke Polly Peablossom’s Wedding 89: Our ‘Pills’ was at no loss for coadjutors.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 49: pills, n. The professor of Medicine.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 31 May 4/7: G.A.R. sought out the drug man [...] Mr. Pills and squills.
[UK]‘Bartimeus’ ‘Chummy Ships’ in Tall Ship 160: The speaker turned to the Young Doctor. ‘Pills, what d’you get when you change your diet sudden-like—scurvy?’.
[UK](con. WWI) ‘Sapper’ Shorty Bill 145: Sit down, Pills; you needn’t bow.
[Aus]North. Times (Carnarvon, WA) 24 Sept. 2/6: Pills: A pharmaceutical chemist.
[US]P. Kendall Dict. Service Sl. n.p.: Pills . . . a hospital steward.
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Pills. Term applied to a prison doctor.

6. in sense of ‘curing’ one’s ills.

(a) a drink.

[Aus]Mercury (Hobart) 23 Apr. 2/5: [from the Stranraer Free Press] [...] a pill, a gill.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 11: There was a Country Club down the Road a piece and most of the Athletes went trailing over to see if they could connect with the Pill after training.
[UK]‘William Juniper’ True Drunkard’s Delight 228: You may have a [...] pill.
[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.

(b) a cigarette or cigar; thus pill mill, a cigar factory; pill-smoker, a cigarette smoker.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 64: ‘Well, I guess you’ll have to give me a ticket on Fitz again,’ said the old sport last night as he pulled away on a new pill.
[US]L. Light Modern Hobo 25: He proceeded to roll a ‘pill’ and out of politeness shoved the ‘makings’ to me.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 207: pill-smoker, cigarette fiend. ‘Thomas has become a pill-smoker too.’.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Carmen’ in Gullible’s Travels 15: On one side o’ the stage they’s a pill mill where the employees is all girls, or was girls a few years ago.
[US]H.C. Witwer Kid Scanlon 186: The Kid grunts and toss away the pill.
[US]R. Whitfield Green Ice (1988) 15: I grabbed a pill, lighted it.
[Can]R. Service ‘The Ballad of Salvatioon Bill’ Bar Room Ballads (1978) 602: A woeful week went by and not a single pill I had, / Me that would smoke my forty a day.
[US]R. Chandler Playback 50: He stuck a pill in his kisser.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 812: pill – A cigarette.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 65: Square A manufactured cigarette. [...] (Archaic: pill).

In derivatives

pilled (up) (adj.)

(drugs) under the influence of amphetamines or barbiturates.

[UK]G. Fletcher Down Among the Meths Men 31: Most of the meths men are on drugs, many of them pilled up to the eyeballs.
[UK]I. Hebditch ‘Weekend’ unpub. thesis in Hewitt (2000) 133: A lot of people are dancing, sometimes six or seven blokes in a ring, all pilled out of their tiny minds.
[UK]J. Mandelkau Buttons 28: I figured he was pilled up to the eyeballs.
[UK]The Who ‘Dr Jimmy’ [lyrics] on Quadrophenia [album] Dr. Jimmy and Mr. Jim / When I’m pilled you don’t notice him.
[UK]Flame: a Life on the Game 144: So all the queens, pilled up to the eyeballs, flew round to my house and piled into the hall.
[Aus]L. Davies Candy 162: I was really drunk and pilled by now.
[UK]N. Griffiths Sheepshagger 165: Pilled up fucker yew, mun.
[UK]J. Niven Kill Your Friends (2009) 36: The place is rammed with two thousand gurning, pilled-up Krauts.
pilling (n.)

(drugs) experiencing the effect of some form of pill, e.g. an amphetamine or barbiturate.

Urban Dict. 13 Dec. [Internet] pilling. taking ecstacy, speed, any illeagal [sic] drug in pill form. ‘John isnt pilling tonite cos hes drinking.’.

In compounds

pill factory (n.)

a hospital.

[UK]Sporting Times 13 Sept. 1/4: They’d all busted themselves with the price of pick-me-ups at he neighbouring pill factory.
pill freak (n.) [-freak sfx]

(drugs) a heavy user of pills, e.g. amphetamines, barbiturates.

[US]J.B. Williams Narcotics 143: pill freak — (see Pill Head) .
[US]H. Blumer World of Youthful Drug Use 47: There also are some other special drug types that may exist in the adolescent drug world, such as those that are labeled the ‘acid head,’ the ‘crystal freak,’ the ‘pill freak’ and the ‘dope fiend’.
[US] ‘Sl. of Watts’ in Current Sl. III:2.
[US]R. Price Breaks 307: I was a smack freak, a pill freak.
pillhead (n.) [-head sfx (4)]

(drugs) a regular user of amphetamine or barbiturate drugs.

[US]D. Casriel So Fair a House xiv: Pillhead Users of barbiturates, amphetamines, etc.
[Can]Maclean’s (Toronto) 4 Sept. 31: Other patients ‘in residence’ [...] totalled only nineteen—fourteen narcotic addicts, two marijuana smokers and two ‘pillheads’, including me.
[US]L. Bruce Essential Lenny Bruce 181: Get outta here, you big pill-head.
[US]J. Wambaugh Choirboys (1976) 345: One of them was possibly a pillhead and a pervert.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 182: She’s just a little ol’ pillhead.
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool 67: Since the B.F.F. is only for pill-heads and Grade A turps-nudgers, I was pretty cheesed off.
[US]C. Hiaasen Strip Tease 15: Darrell Grant was a pillhead, a convict and a dealer in stolen wheelchairs.
[UK]Guardian 6 Nov. 10: Linguistically ingenious novel about fourth-generation pill-heads.
pill man (n.)

(drugs) a drug dealer.

[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Whoreson 213: I ran down the pill man and bought his supply of beans.
pill mill (n.) [mill n.1 (4b)]

(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.

[US]Medicaid Prescription Drug Diversion 1: The term ‘pill mill’ applies to a whole range of illegal schemes involving drug diversion. [...] The physician, enrolled in the Meicaid program, provides a medically unnecessary prescription .
[US](con. 1985–90) P. Bourjois In Search of Respect 4: In one of several local ‘pill mills’ a doctor wrote $3.9 million worth of Medicaid prescriptions in only one year.
[US]T. Dorsey Riptide Ultra-Glide 42: A major crackdown has begun on the I-95 pipeline of OxyContin being dispensed from numerous South Florida pill mills.
pill-pad (n.) [pad n.2 (2)]

1. an opium den, a place where opium users can gather to smoke.

[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[UK] in Harrap’s Sl. Dict.

2. (US drugs) a gathering place for heroin users.

J.A. Martin Law Enforcement Vocab. 172: Pill Pad. Slang: Gathering place for drug addicts.
pill-popper (n.) [pop v.1 (4c)]

(drugs) a regular user of any drugs in pill form.

[US]Mag. of the Year 1 158/1: Most of these friends don’t look any healthier than they ever did. [...] But maybe they do not feel as seedy as they look, and maybe I, too, should become a pill popper.
[US]Time 1 Nov. 74: Can a lonely New Jersey pill popper who sleeps on a board find enduring happiness with an ebullient Hungarian gourmet who sleeps on a rug?
[US]PADS 24: pill popper.[...] One who constantly takes pills.
[US]J. Wambaugh Choirboys (1976) 295: A nurse who [...] was an inveterate pill popper.
[UK]J. Healy Grass Arena (1990) 151: Stayed in a large room with a load of other addicts and pill-poppers in Hampstead.
[UK]G. Burn Happy Like Murderers 151: The runaways. The potheads. [...] The pill-poppers. The pushers.
[US]D.H. Sterry Chicken (2003) 11: The smackdaddies and the boozebabies, the clodhoppers and the pillpoppers.
pill-popping (n.) [pop v.1 (4c)] (drugs)

taking pills, addicted to pills; also as adj.

[US]R. Goldstein 1 in 7: Drugs on Campus 203: The extensive evidence of amphetamine misuse among high school students implies two facts about ‘pill-popping’: an easy, open market, and an absence of information on the dangers surrounding such drugs.
[US]G. Johnson Pill Conspiracy 68: Pill popping with other drugs can lead to death. Pill popping, or unsupervised use, of the psychedelics can lead to a life worse than death — a life of insanity.
[US]New York Mag. 12 June 65: A pill-popping alcoholic weasel- faced paranoid who inhabits a cold-water pigsty.
[US]R. Sabbag Snowblind (1978) 73: Alcohol consumption is up [...] marijuana consumption is up, pill-popping is as popular as ever.
[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 11: The young pill-popping set, mainly a bunch of footloose hedonists who were out for kicks.
[UK](con. 1954) C. Logue Prince Charming 163: A pill-popping hairless albino homosexual who can’t keep a lover.
[UK]Observer Screen 30 Jan. 7: The 30-year-old well-dressed, well-paid [...] pill-popping gay man.
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Jungletown Jihad’ in Destination: Morgue! (2004) 324: Her plans? To [...] bomb the boards as pill-popping poetess Anne Sexton.
pill-puncher (n.)

(Aus.) a chemist, a pharmacist.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 May. 9/4: A local pill-puncher, seeing that one of his brethren had advertised a reduction in the price of patent medicines, sent to Hunter-street a facetiously worded and harmless ad.
pill-shooter (n.) (also pill-slinger)

a doctor.

[US]Square Deal 8 134/1: Once I give a dose or charge a cent the local pill shooters would chase me from hades to the matutinal meal.
[US]Iowa Homepathic Jrnl 11:1-12 28: The strictly medical man looks through his monocle and sees nothing but pills; everything must be accomplished with pills and soon he becomes a veritable pill-shooter to the exclusion of everything else.
[US]A.C. Huber Diary of a Doughboy 11 Oct. [Internet] The ornery inexperienced pill slingers!
[US]Caduceus 43:8 821: Nobody prefers an amateur doctor to a professional unless it be someone so hopelessly ‘nuts’ that the sooner the amateur pill-shooter gets him the better.
[US]Better Crops with Plant Food 4: No wonder that the jovial old jokesmiths coupled the pill shooter with the undertaker. Yet doctors have their good points, too.
[US]O. Strange Law O’ The Lariat 58: That pill-slinger fussed over him like a hen with one chick.
[US]M. Sandoz Tom-Walker (1984) 33: You better scout around for some pill shooter right away and tell him where you been.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 812: pill shooter – A physician.
[US](ref. to 1923) H. Marriott Cariboo Cowboy 89: In those years, an average fellow was darn near down-and-out before he headed out to see a pill-shooter.
pill shop (n.)

an opium den.

[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 77: Tired Feelin, in a temporary effort to become oblivious to the past, is taking a shot of hop in a pill shop across the street.

In phrases

black pill (n.) (also green pill) [the colour of the drug; opium is rolled into a pill for smoking]

(drugs) an opium pill.

[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 141: He cooked green pills for me, and I nearly passed out. I was fed up with dope, and I have never inhaled opium in any form since.
[US]D. Maurer ‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in Lang. Und. (1981).
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore 72: Green pill – A portion of opium yielding a strong or otherwise unpalatable smoke.
[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970) 46: black pills Pellets of opium heated over a flame, placed in the pipe, and smoked.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 3: Black pill — Opium pill.
get the pill (v.)

to be dismissed from a job.

[UK]‘The New Police-Man’ in Cove in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) IV 234: While t’other one, he got the pill, / Dismiss’d was this bouncing Police-man.
pill up (v.)

(UK drugs) to take amphetamines.

[UK]Oz 2 13: It is virtually impossible to find a teenager dancing in a West Club who hasn’t pilled up beforehand.

In exclamations

SE in slang uses

In compounds

pill-box (n.)

see separate entry.

pill driver (n.) (also pill-monger)

a travelling apothecary or doctor.

[UK]J. Floyer Essay to Prove Cold Bathing (2nd edn) II 207: The Setters [...] of Dr. Custard’s-Skull Profits persuaded him to send for this Pulp-pated Pil-monger.
[UK]Foote Mayor of Garrat in Works (1799) I 164: There has, Major, been here an impudent pill-monger, who has dar’d to scandalise the whole body of the bench.
[UK]‘Will Whimsical’ Miscellany 117: Am I to be ever pestered with the impertinence of such a prating, perriwig-pated Pill-monger-as this is?
[UK]Monthly Mirror June 423: Why do not some of the London grandees come down here, to gratify this complaining pill-monger?
[US][C.R. Gilman] Legends of a Log Cabin 212: Who would have thought that the plaguy old pill-driver would keep Sally in her room, drinking elder-flower tea and eating milk porridge till Lawrence and Gammage had got his sleigh done.
[UK]Self I 225: Uncertain whether this strange inconsistency arose from conviction [...] or disgust at the presumption of the pill-driver in administering his opinions as well as his senna.
[US]J.W. Fabens Camel Hunt 11: He intended me for a pill driver, while I intended myself for the disgraceful profession of literature.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[US]Washington Standard (Olympia, WA) 20 Feb. 1/3: If a pretty poultress marries a pill-monger, why may she be said to have made a bad bargain? [...] Because she lets him have a ‘duck’ and gets nothing but a quack in return.
[US]J.W. Carr ‘Words from Northwest Arkansas’ in DN III:iii 150: pill-driver, n. Physician.
[US]San Juan Islander (Friday Harbor, WA) 22 Feb. 6/3: Families don’t care for bachelor doctors [...] you obstinate, stiff-backed old pill-monger.
[US]G.B. Morris Damphoul Thoughts of a Small-town Doctor 50: They have always been told by pedagog, priest, parent and pill-driver that coca-colas are injurious and that it is a sin to drink them.
pill-grinder (n.)

a pharmacist.

[UK]Morn. Chron. 9 Jan. 3/6: He is nothing better than ‘an administrator of pills’ [a] pill-grinder .
[UK]Illus. Times 19 Dec. 10/3: He’d sooner go back and be a pill-grinder to a chemist.
[UK]Preston Chron. 5 Dec. 6/4: From the sleek physician to the money-coining quack, from the fine-tailed professor to the thimble-rigging pill-grinder.
[US]New Northwest (Portland, OR) 1 May 2/5: She entered the drug store opposite and asked the perfumed pill-grinder whether [etc].
[US]S.F. Call 24 Feb. 3/7: The purpose of these bills is to make it impossible for any but the regular pill-grinder to do business.
[UK]Chemist & Druggist 35 446/2: Some cuttings from a local paper that must surely stir a sympathetic nerve in every British pill grinder.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 883: [...] C.20.

In phrases

pill-peddler (n.)

a doctor.

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 31 Jan. 5/1: [headline] Pill-Peddler Moore’s Amours [...] Dr Elijah Moore [...] is a young physician.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 301: I think I’ll bring in some other world-famous pill-pedlar for consultation.
[US]S. Lewis Arrowsmith 140: How could old Max have gone over to that damned pill-peddler?
[US]‘Dean Stiff’ Milk and Honey Route 47: The munie is a good place to visit [...] to get a good clean-up, and having the munie pill peddler look you over.
[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.
pill-pusher (n.) (also pill-thrower, pill-twister) [push v. (3c)]

a doctor.

[US]T.A. Pinkerton A New Saint’s Tragedy 29: A sense of not yet recognized power induced him now and then to make his teeth meet in some vulgar pill- pusher [...] who foolishly imagined himself a past-master in human experience.
[UK]Sporting Times 5 May 2/1: ‘Do I understand you to say,’ persisted the pill-pusher, ‘that you have not touched alcohol in any shape or form since the City and Suburban?’.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ You Should Worry cap. 9: The good old pill-pusher threw his saws behind the sofa [...] and took a fall out of my pulse.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 207: pill-thrower, a doctor. ‘I would call that pill-thrower if I had a sick cat to cure.’.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Pill pusher, a doctor. Pill twister, a doctor.
[US]J. McLiam Sin of Pat Muldoon 13: Doc here's a great sawbones, finest pill-pusher in California, eh, Doc?
[US]L. Wilde More Official Doctors Joke Book 159: [heading] Pill-Pusher Persiflage.
pill-roller (n.) (also pill-juggler)

1. a doctor; thus pill-rolling adj.

[UK]60 Years in the Life of Jeremy Lewis II 226: Here the learned pill-roller used an expression, which, from the reverence due to that grave body, the physicians, I beg leave to omit.
[Aus]‘A. Pendragon’ Queen of the South 70: You pill-rolling, salve-coloured poisoner.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 3 Oct. 10/4: Amongst the trophies presented to the festive revellers at the late Sydney Undertakers’ Picnic sports, not one, not even a little one – came from any of the medical faculty. Considering the many obligations the pine-liners confer on the pill-rollers in the way of smoothing over ‘jerried’ jobs, we consider this to be downright mean.
[US]W.C. Alpers Pharmacist at Work 235: And why should you be angry if others call you what you really are,—a pill-roller or poison-mixer?
[US]Pensacola Jrnl (FL) 20 June 10/5: The eternal nightmare of dodging the sign Rx and the deadly dose bottle upon the pill jugglers’ shelves.
[US]H.L. Fox What the ‘Boys’ Did Over There 45: So he called the pill roller over and told him to take my temperature [...] the pill roller put the glass tube in my mouth.
[US](con. 1918) L. Nason Chevrons 97: The pill rollers carry those packs now.
[US]G. Milburn ‘The Hobo’s Last Ride’ in Hobo’s Hornbook 133: I knew that the fever had you right. / The pill-roller wouldn’t come.
[UK]A. Murdoch in Arthur Forgotten Voices (2005) 237: I got hit [...] I said, ‘Jack, you can go back and send a pill-roller over here.’.
[US]L. Uris Battle Cry (1964) 129: Most of them pill rollers act like they’re taking bayonet practice.
[US] in J.P. Spradley You Owe Yourself a Drunk (1988) 58: Show him my minor nasty-looking wound. Took me to the ‘pill-roller’.
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 50: Lying old pillroller knew I was going to have one.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 104: Croaker A prison doctor. (Archaic: butcher, pill roller).

2. a pharmacist.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Mar. 7/4: [T]he long-felt want of a proper and advantageous means of disposing of our dead has just been filled by a chemist in Genoa. This enterprising pill-roller has, it appears, discovered a plan for turning flesh into marble.
[US]Merck’s Market report 4 440: And why should you be angry if others call you what you really are—a pill-roller or poison-mixer?
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Sept. 12/4: The weight was fastened to the scales by some ointment stuff, but how it got there is one of the many mysteries that make the poor pill-roller’s life a warfare – and a Bulgarian one at that.
[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 16: I wonder if I can bull this pill roller into belling me a jolt.
[US]Wkly Tribune & Cape Co. Herald (Cape Girardeau, MO) 27 Apr. 6/6: Why friend, you’re bilious; take somethin’ before you have to call a pill roller.
[US]Danville (VA) Bee 27 May 3/1: The U. S. Navy has a language or a ‘slanguage’ all its own. For instance [...] hospital corps men are ‘pill rollers’.
[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 87: He was damned if he let a lousy pill-roller know just how bad he felt.
[US]S. Philips Big Spring 19: Pillroller [...] I told you I was a druggist.
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 214: As a pillroller he might be all right [...] But as a cook he’s lousy.
[US]B. Jackson Killing Time 189: He was the convict doctor. He was just a pill roller, not a real doctor.