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Tablet vs. Pill: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 6, 2023
A tablet is a solid dose of medication or supplement, typically round or oval, compressed into a hard form, while a pill is a general term for any small, rounded dose of medicine, which can be a tablet, capsule, or something else.

Key Differences

Tablets are specifically designed solid dosage forms of medication, made by compressing powder into a hard, dense mass. Pills, on the other hand, are a broader category that includes any small, round medicinal dose, not limited to solid forms.
The manufacturing process of a tablet involves compression under high pressure to create a dense and durable form, ensuring a precise dosage. Pills, conversely, can vary in their manufacturing process, sometimes involving coatings or being formed into capsules.
Tablets often have specific designs, such as scoring for easy splitting or coating for controlled release. Pills can encompass a variety of forms, including capsules, tablets, or small round medicines designed for easy swallowing.
In common usage, "tablet" usually refers to a specific type of pill, particularly one that is flat and disc-shaped. The term "pill" is used more broadly and can refer to any small form of medication, regardless of shape or composition.
From a historical perspective, the word "pill" is older and was used to describe small medicinal balls. Tablets, as a term and form, evolved with advancements in pharmaceutical technology, offering a more precise and controlled way to administer medication.

Comparison Chart


Solid, compressed powder, often round or oval
Can be any small, rounded dose, including tablets


Compressed under high pressure
Varied, includes coatings, capsules

Usage in Language

Specific to solid, compressed form
General term for small medicinal doses

Design Features

May have scoring, coating, or specific shapes
Encompasses various forms and compositions

Historical Context

Evolved with pharmaceutical advancements
Traditional term for small medicinal balls

Tablet and Pill Definitions


A pharmaceutical form that ensures precise dosing and stability.
Each tablet contains exactly 500mg of the active ingredient.


A small, round dose of medication for oral use.
He took a pain relief pill for his headache.


A solid unit of a dietary supplement or over-the-counter medication.
She took a calcium tablet every morning for bone health.


A general term for a small, solid form of medicine.
She found the pill on the floor and recognized it as her prescription medication.


A small, flat, and often round or oval solid dosage of medication.
The doctor prescribed a tablet to be taken twice a day.


Any small medicinal dose, regardless of its specific form.
The doctor advised him to take one pill every four hours.


A compressed form of substance, usually used for oral ingestion.
He carried a vitamin tablet in his bag for daily use.


A term used for capsules, tablets, or similar medicinal forms.
The prescription bottle was labeled with instructions for the pills inside.


A small, hard, and dense form of medication designed for ease of swallowing.
The patient found the small tablet easier to swallow than capsules.


A traditional form of medicine, often round and coated.
The coated pill was easier to swallow without water.


A slab or plaque, as of stone or ivory, with a surface that is intended for or bears an inscription.


A small pellet or tablet of medicine, often coated, taken by swallowing whole or by chewing.


A thin sheet or leaf, used as a writing surface.


(Informal) An oral contraceptive. Used with the.


Do pills have specific manufacturing processes?

Pills can be made in various ways, including capsules and coatings.

What is a tablet?

A tablet is a solid, compressed form of medication or supplement.

Can all pills be called tablets?

No, not all pills are tablets; pills include various forms like capsules.

Do all tablets dissolve in the stomach?

Some tablets are designed for delayed or controlled release.

What is a pill?

A pill is any small, rounded dose of medicine, including tablets.

Can a pill be a liquid form?

Generally, pills refer to solid forms, not liquids.

Are tablets always round?

Tablets can be round, oval, or other shapes, depending on design.

Are chewable vitamins considered tablets?

Yes, chewable vitamins can be considered a form of tablet.

Can children take tablets?

Tablets can be taken by children if prescribed or deemed safe.

Can pills contain multiple medications?

Yes, some pills are formulated with more than one medication.

Is "pill" a medical or a colloquial term?

"Pill" is used both medically and colloquially.

Are pills only used for prescription medications?

Pills include both prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Do tablets have a longer shelf life than other pill forms?

Tablets often have a long shelf life, but it varies by formulation.

Are all tablets hard and dense?

Most tablets are hard and dense, but there can be variations.

Are tablets easier to split than other pills?

Many tablets are scored for easy splitting, unlike some other pill forms.

Are tablets coated?

Some tablets have a coating for ease of swallowing or controlled release.

Can tablets be cut in half?

Many, but not all, tablets can be safely split.

Can pills be topical?

Pills are generally for oral use, not topical.

Do pills always require water to swallow?

It's recommended, but some pills can be swallowed without water.

Are herbal supplements available as pills?

Yes, herbal supplements can be made in pill form, including tablets.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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