I need a word to describe something that is both good for you and hurts you at the same time? Sample sentence: "

closed as off-topic by Helmar, Cascabel, aparente001, curiousdannii, fixer1234 Jun 4 '17 at 7:21

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  • 3
    You may be looking for covfefe. – Sven Yargs Jun 2 '17 at 21:41
  • Looks like the sample sentence got covfefefied. – Cascabel Jun 2 '17 at 21:43
  • "Covfefe is a bitter pill to swallow." – Hot Licks Jun 2 '17 at 22:08
  • In physical therapy one can call this "good pain* or "helpful pain." – aparente001 Jun 3 '17 at 5:46
  • Please give us a context and a sample sentence. – aparente001 Jun 4 '17 at 3:41

I think the closest thing to what you're looking for is the phrase "double-edged sword."

Something that has or can have both favorable and unfavorable consequences.

But there are words that could be used as well in certain situations. One is "pyrrhic."

Achieved at excessive cost (a Pyrrhic victory); also : costly to the point of negating or outweighing expected benefits.

Another could be "bittersweet."

Being at once bitter and sweet; especially : pleasant but including or marked by elements of suffering or regret


In addition to Evan's good suggestions, you might also consider a "bitter pill to swallow": An unwanted or unpleasant situation that someone is forced to accept.

When Brett's parents stopped giving him money to pay his bills and told him to get a job, it was a bitter pill for him to swallow.

Getting a poor performance review was a bitter pill, but it made me a better worker.

Pills might be necessary or helpful, but still taste bad going down.


Purgative and cathartic also have similar connotations. They mean something that's purifying/cleansing and, at the same time, hurting/punishing a bit.

E.g. "infernal punishments are purgatory and medicinal"

Meaning of Purgative

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