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View Poll Results: The phrase: "You're a pill!" Heard it? Use it?
Yes, I've heard the phrase used but I don't use it. 130 66.67%
Yes, I've heard it and I use it. 51 26.15%
Never heard of it. 11 5.64%
Other. (please describe) 3 1.54%
Voters: 195. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 12-10-2009, 06:52 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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The phrase: "You're a Pill!" Heard it? Used it?

"You're a Pill!" "He's a pill!" "Don't be such a pill!"

These were common phrases my grandparents aimed at us young 'uns, many ages ago.

Of course, I now realize that "pill" readily translates into "pain in the ass", only in a more light-hearted way.

So, are you familiar with the phrase? What did it mean for you? Do you use it yourself?

I kinda miss the phrase. I used it on my kids only infrequently, and I doubt they even noticed as a result. If they give me grandkids, I'll definitely use it on them!
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  #2  
Old 12-10-2009, 06:57 PM
Green Bean Green Bean is offline
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I use it, but not to mean "pain in the ass." To me, a pill is more of a wet blanket. Or just a no-fun kind of person.
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  #3  
Old 12-10-2009, 06:59 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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I use it. Not very often but I use it. And a pill is clearly a grumpy person.
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  #4  
Old 12-10-2009, 07:01 PM
SecretaryofEvil SecretaryofEvil is offline
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I believe the phrase comes from the old expression "You're a tough pill to swallow." apparently back in the old days (which old days I'm not sure) pills were made out of different stuff than they are these days. These old timey pills were, presumably, harder to swallow and digest than the modern days. Thus pills that were unpleasant to ingest became synonymous with things that were annoying.
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  #5  
Old 12-10-2009, 07:05 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is online now
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I don't really use it--just never thought about it, but I recognize it as someone who's annoying or irritating or just plain no fun.
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  #6  
Old 12-10-2009, 07:25 PM
twickster twickster is online now
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Yup -- but agree it means party-pooper, wet blanket, not annoyance.

And though I have a vague recollection of having said it c. 1972, I voted for "not a word I use."
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  #7  
Old 12-10-2009, 07:30 PM
Weedy Weedy is offline
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I've read it in books, but I've never heard it said and I wouldn't use it myself.
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  #8  
Old 12-10-2009, 07:43 PM
MovieMogul MovieMogul is offline
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I think the first time I heard it was in this movie (the line is featured in the trailer), and while I've heard it in others, I've never heard it used in real life.
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  #9  
Old 12-10-2009, 07:43 PM
furt furt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Bean View Post
I use it, but not to mean "pain in the ass." To me, a pill is more of a wet blanket. Or just a no-fun kind of person.
Ditto. This is what my mom means when she uses it.

Last edited by furt; 12-10-2009 at 07:44 PM..
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  #10  
Old 12-10-2009, 08:18 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is online now
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It's the kind of thing my mom says.
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  #11  
Old 12-10-2009, 08:37 PM
Ogre Ogre is offline
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I used it yesterday to describe one of our bitchy, resentful cats. I'm 37.
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  #12  
Old 12-10-2009, 09:28 PM
Maiira Maiira is offline
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My parents use this phrase. I do not. When someone is being a pain in the ass, I just call 'em "a pain in the ass."
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  #13  
Old 12-10-2009, 09:44 PM
NinetyWt NinetyWt is offline
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Mom used this to mean someone who was being extremely irritating and annoying. Like kids who complain about doing chores.
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  #14  
Old 12-10-2009, 10:07 PM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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My mom would use it occasionally when we were being silly. I never had the sense that it was as negative as other posters here describe.
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  #15  
Old 12-10-2009, 10:50 PM
handsomeharry handsomeharry is offline
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I've read it, but never used it. IIRC, it was in the book "2000 Insults for all Occasions" written in late 60's to early 70s, but I think Henny Youngman may have used it in the 40s. By the context, it meant PITA, and it appeared to be pretty archaic in the 60s.

hh

Last edited by handsomeharry; 12-10-2009 at 10:50 PM..
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  #16  
Old 12-10-2009, 10:53 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Can it, you nit!
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  #17  
Old 12-10-2009, 11:39 PM
An Gadaí An Gadaí is offline
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I've heard "You're a pillock!" but not "You're a pill!"
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  #18  
Old 12-11-2009, 12:10 AM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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My parents and grandparents used it. It meant being grouchy or mean-spirited, not annoying.
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  #19  
Old 12-11-2009, 01:06 AM
HazelNutCoffee HazelNutCoffee is offline
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It's one of those expressions I've read in books but never used.

The other day I told my boyfriend, "You think you're such a card, don't you?" and he said I sounded like a grandma.
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  #20  
Old 12-11-2009, 08:40 AM
ShelliBean ShelliBean is offline
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I've used it to describe my kids before. Not directly at them "you are a pill" but, for example, dropping the oldest off with his dad's family for the night "he's been kind of a pill today so I hope he cheers up for you" or to a teacher "He was a real pill last night and we talked about attitudes; I hope you don't have any trouble today!"

I use it just like "pain in the ass" except I can't call my kids pains in the ass so I say "pill".
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  #21  
Old 12-11-2009, 11:23 AM
stargazer stargazer is offline
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My husband and I will tell our toddler that he's being a pill when he's being a PITA. Or one of us will tell the other, upon the other arriving home, that the child is being a pill. Sometimes we'll say "he's being especially 2," but pill is easier.

My mom and grandmother both used the phrase; I'm not sure about my husband's family.
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  #22  
Old 12-11-2009, 11:30 AM
gigi gigi is offline
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I know it from "You've Got Mail": "She's beautiful but she's a pill." It sounded old-fashioned even for Tom Hanks.

ETA: D'oh! Hi, Archive Guy.

Last edited by gigi; 12-11-2009 at 11:32 AM..
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  #23  
Old 12-11-2009, 11:33 AM
gigi gigi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stargazer View Post
Sometimes we'll say "he's being especially 2,"
Like poop? How about "He's really 1ing me off."
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  #24  
Old 12-11-2009, 11:34 AM
ENugent ENugent is offline
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I refer to my daughter as a pill when what I want to say is that she's being a bitchy little pain in the ass, but I don't want to use any of those words to refer to my daughter.
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  #25  
Old 12-11-2009, 11:54 AM
overlyverbose overlyverbose is offline
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I use it for the same reasons ENugent does. If my son's being a little shit and someone at work or someone I don't know well asks me about him, saying he's a pill is much more acceptable than saying he's a little shit.
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  #26  
Old 12-11-2009, 11:55 AM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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I almost the term in a thread in the last week.
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  #27  
Old 12-11-2009, 12:32 PM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShelliBean View Post
I've used it to describe my kids before. Not directly at them "you are a pill" but, for example, dropping the oldest off with his dad's family for the night "he's been kind of a pill today so I hope he cheers up for you" or to a teacher "He was a real pill last night and we talked about attitudes; I hope you don't have any trouble today!"

I use it just like "pain in the ass" except I can't call my kids pains in the ass so I say "pill".
Yeah, that's pretty much how my wife and I use it since the Firebug came into our lives. I was familiar with the expression before that, but almost never used it back then.
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  #28  
Old 12-11-2009, 12:36 PM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stargazer View Post
Sometimes we'll say "he's being especially 2," but pill is easier.
True, but there's definitely something to the phrase "he's being especially 2." Now that you've introduced me to the phrase, I think the wife and I are going to be giving it quite a workout between now and the Firebug's third birthday.
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  #29  
Old 12-11-2009, 12:43 PM
Strainger Strainger is offline
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I don't use it, but my mom (63) uses it all the time, frequently to refer to my niece.
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  #30  
Old 12-11-2009, 12:45 PM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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"A pill" for a doc? Only in old westerns, old blues songs and oldish novels.
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  #31  
Old 12-11-2009, 12:48 PM
Skara_Brae Skara_Brae is offline
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My favorite use of this phrase I heard once from a bitchy relative, "They are a perfect couple...She's a pill and he's a headache. I hope they make each other miserable."
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  #32  
Old 12-11-2009, 01:01 PM
Heart of Dorkness Heart of Dorkness is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HazelNutCoffee View Post
The other day I told my boyfriend, "You think you're such a card, don't you?" and he said I sounded like a grandma.
I love using words like this, for exactly this reason. I use "card" all the time. "Cut-up" is another good one. I've used "pill" once or twice, but I plan to use it more now. I usually say "treat" (sarcastically), as in, "Well, you're just a treat, aren't you?" or "He sounds like a real treat."

I have no idea why using antiquated terms entertains me so, but it does, by crackey!
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  #33  
Old 12-11-2009, 04:07 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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My parents said it quite often. I say it sometimes. "Quit being such a pill!"
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  #34  
Old 12-11-2009, 04:29 PM
torie torie is offline
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My mom used to call my brother that all the time, and make up songs. It helps that my brother's name rhymes with 'pill'. So he was '[Brother's name] the Pill' for years.
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  #35  
Old 12-11-2009, 08:14 PM
Unauthorized Cinnamon Unauthorized Cinnamon is offline
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I use it all the time. I've been calling the baby a pill today because she was weirdly cranky, whiny, and clingy. It's kind of part of my kid code - it's unacceptable to say to a 2yo, "Why are you being such a pain in the ass?" but "pill" is OK. Kind of like we use "goofball" to stand in when sometimes we really want to say "idiot."

(N.B., I love my kids, don't regularly put them down, and actually consider them to be better behaved than most of their peers. But everybody's a pain in the ass or an idiot some of the time!)
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  #36  
Old 12-11-2009, 08:24 PM
Gorgon Heap Gorgon Heap is offline
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I've heard both "you're a pill" as GreenBean described it and "take a pill" as in 'chill pill'.
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  #37  
Old 12-11-2009, 09:15 PM
Taomist Taomist is offline
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Wow, haven't heard that in a long time! My mom used it while we were growing up <'We' are 43-32 now> and used it to mean 'pain in the ass'. She was raised in Maine, if that helps.
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  #38  
Old 12-12-2009, 11:37 AM
Chanteuse Chanteuse is offline
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When my seven year old daughter is griping a lot over some perceived injustice, I've been known to tell her, "Chill, pill!"
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  #39  
Old 12-12-2009, 12:18 PM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is online now
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My parents & their cohort (now in their mid 70s & up) used it to mean a pain in the ass, not to mean a wet blanket.

I don't think I've said it but once or twice in 50+ years.
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  #40  
Old 12-12-2009, 12:24 PM
Ann Onimous Ann Onimous is offline
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I had never heard it before I moved to Mississippi: my mother-in-law was the first person I've heard use the phrase. I don't use it at all.
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  #41  
Old 12-12-2009, 12:32 PM
gang green gang green is offline
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I believe it has fallen out of popular usage, kind of like "the bee's knees" (and perhaps of similar vintage?).

I usually run across it in old movies.
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  #42  
Old 12-12-2009, 02:02 PM
jsgoddess jsgoddess is offline
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I use pill, card, etc. Someone pointed out to me recently that I use "cross," which struck him as really old-fashioned, though it just sounds normal to me.

I always assumed "pill" was from "a bitter pill to swallow."
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  #43  
Old 12-12-2009, 03:49 PM
Le Ministre de l'au-delà Le Ministre de l'au-delà is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by An Gadaí View Post
I've heard "You're a pillock!" but not "You're a pill!"
My mum and her Scottish cronies used 'Pill' or 'Pillock' interchangeably. I tend to say 'Pillock' more.
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  #44  
Old 12-13-2009, 12:40 PM
Pyper Pyper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShelliBean View Post
I've used it to describe my kids before. Not directly at them "you are a pill" but, for example, dropping the oldest off with his dad's family for the night "he's been kind of a pill today so I hope he cheers up for you" or to a teacher "He was a real pill last night and we talked about attitudes; I hope you don't have any trouble today!"

I use it just like "pain in the ass" except I can't call my kids pains in the ass so I say "pill".
Same here. My mother used to call my sister and me pills all the time. Implication: pain in the ass. I never used the phrase as an adult until I started working with small children. It's code between the parents and me for the kid being grumpy, misbehaving, or prone to tantrumming.
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  #45  
Old 12-13-2009, 06:12 PM
UncaStuart UncaStuart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
My parents and grandparents used it. It meant being grouchy or mean-spirited, not annoying.
Same here. I'm 62 and use it, but rarely and only with talking to people of my age.
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  #46  
Old 12-13-2009, 11:02 PM
Chicken Fingers Chicken Fingers is offline
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I use it. I think old phrases are the cat's meow.
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  #47  
Old 12-14-2009, 12:29 PM
stargazer stargazer is offline
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Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
True, but there's definitely something to the phrase "he's being especially 2." Now that you've introduced me to the phrase, I think the wife and I are going to be giving it quite a workout between now and the Firebug's third birthday.
Glad I could be of assistance. It really does describe that certain kind of pain-in-the-ass-ness, doesn't it? Power struggly, "not hearing" when told not to do something, etc.

I'm sure we'll continue using it after he turns 3 (which will be a while yet), because I seriously doubt that the behavior will magically stop with the birthday...
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  #48  
Old 12-14-2009, 01:24 PM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
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Another vote for Mom. I always inferred a person who was being difficult for no good reason.
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  #49  
Old 12-14-2009, 01:48 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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We used to use it a lot: "A pill is a pill and it always will."

It's been supplanted by "web-blanket"
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