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06 / 03 / 2007

PILL vs. TABLET: meaning and examples

Good morning.

Today we are going to look at two more synonyms, which also come from a question we received, this time from a Daily Vitamin user:

Please tell me the difference between "pill" and "tablet". Is it just the form they come in? Thanks!!
Robert Oliver

Once again, let's look at the official definitions that the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary give:

Definition of Pill: a small round piece of medicine that you swallow without chewing it.

Definition of Tablet: a small round solid piece of medicine that you swallow.

As you can see Robert, these words (like yesterday's words) are synonyms, and any difference between them is very subtle, and will depend on the individual speaker or dialect.

There is some indication that Tablet is more common in UK English, and Pill more common in US English, but I think there is too much variation to come to any convincing conclusion.

Example 1:
My wife has trouble swallowing pills. It always takes her three of four attempts just to swallow a tablet.  

I hope that answers your question, Robert. If anyone has questions or comments about today's Daily Vitamin, they should post them in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website.

I hope you enjoy your day.