One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Pharmacology. Any of various medicinal preparations containing metallic mercury or a compound of mercury, used especially in the treatment of syphilis and disorders of the liver, and as a purgative; (as a count noun) a tablet of such a preparation.
2US slang. A bullet. Now historical.
Late 17th century; earliest use found in Gideon Harvey (c1636–?1702), physician. From blue + pill.
blue pill/ˌbluː ˈpɪl/
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