1. an opaque white or bluish-white liquid secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals, serving for the nourishment of their young.
  2. this liquid as secreted by cows, goats, or certain other animals and used by humans for food or as a source of butter, cheeses, yogurt, etc.
  3. any liquid resembling this, as the liquid within a coconut, the juice or sap of certain plants, or various pharmaceutical preparations.

verb (used with object)

  1. to press or draw milk from the udder or breast of.
  2. to extract something from as if by milking.
  3. to get something from; exploit: The swindler milked her of all her savings.
  4. to extract; draw out: He’s good at milking laughs from the audience.

verb (used without object)

  1. to yield milk, as a cow.
  2. to milk a cow or other mammal.


  1. cry over spilled milk, to lament what cannot be changed or corrected; express sorrow for past actions or events: Crying over spilled milk will do you no good now.


    1. a whitish nutritious fluid produced and secreted by the mammary glands of mature female mammals and used for feeding their young until weaned
    2. the milk of cows, goats, or other animals used by man as a food or in the production of butter, cheese, etcRelated adjectives: lacteal, lactic
  1. any similar fluid in plants, such as the juice of a coconut
  2. any of various milklike pharmaceutical preparations, such as milk of magnesia
  3. cry over spilt milk to lament something that cannot be altered


  1. to draw milk from the udder of (a cow, goat, or other animal)
  2. (intr) (of cows, goats, or other animals) to yield milk
  3. (tr) to draw off or tap in small quantitiesto milk the petty cash
  4. (tr) to extract as much money, help, etc, as possible fromto milk a situation of its news value
  5. (tr) to extract venom, sap, etc, from

n.Old English meoluc (West Saxon), milc (Anglian), from Proto-Germanic *meluks “milk” (cf. Old Norse mjolk, Old Frisian melok, Old Saxon miluk, Dutch melk, Old High German miluh, German Milch, Gothic miluks), from *melk- “to milk,” from PIE root *melg- “to wipe, to rub off,” also “to stroke; to milk,” in reference to the hand motion involved in milking an animal (cf. Greek amelgein, Latin mulgere, Old Church Slavonic mlesti, Lithuanian melžu “to milk,” Old Irish melg “milk,” Sanskrit marjati “wipes off”). Old Church Slavonic noun meleko (Russian moloko, Czech mleko) is considered to be adopted from Germanic. Of milk-like plant juices from late 14c. Milk chocolate is first recorded 1723; milk shake is first recorded 1889, for a variety of creations, but the modern version is only from the 1930s. Milk tooth (1727) uses the word in its figurative sense “period of infancy,” attested from 17c. To cry over spilt milk is first attested 1836 in writing of Canadian humorist Thomas C. Haliburton. Milk and honey is from the Old Testament phrase describing the richness of the Promised Land (Num. xvi:13, Old English meolc and hunie). Milk of human kindness is from “Macbeth” (1605). v.Old English melcan, milcian, meolcian “to milk, give milk, suckle,” from Proto-Germanic *melk- “to milk” (cf. Dutch melken, Old High German melchan, German melken), from PIE root *melg- (see milk (n.)). Figurative sense of “exploit for profit” is first found 1520s. Related: Milked; milking. n.

  1. A whitish liquid containing proteins, fats, lactose, and various vitamins and minerals that is produced by the mammary glands of all mature female mammals after they have given birth and serves as nourishment for their young.
  2. The milk of cows, goats, or other animals, used as food by humans.
  3. A liquid, such as coconut milk, milkweed sap, plant latex, or various medical emulsions, that is similar to milk in appearance.


  1. To draw milk from the teat or udder of a female mammal.
  2. To press out, drain off, or remove by or as if by milking; strip.

  1. A white liquid produced by the mammary glands of female mammals for feeding their young beginning immediately after birth. Milk is an emulsion of proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and sugars, especially lactose, in water. The proteins in milk contain all the essential amino acids.

In addition to the idiom beginning with milk

  • milk of human kindness, the
  • also see:

  • cry over spilt milk
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