Lethal or poison pill, traditionally carried by spies to be used if captured to
prevent their being tortured and revealing secrets. During World War II, some
lethal pills consisted of cyanide encased in glass. They could be concealed in
a false tooth and worked loose by the agent's tongue if necessary. He would
then bite into the capsule, breaking the glass, and would die almost instantly.
If the pill broke loose while the agent was sleeping, however, it would pass
harmlessly through his digestive track.
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