verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

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


    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.

Origin of milk

before 900; Middle English; Old English meol(o)c, (Anglian) milc; cognate with German Milch, Old Norse mjōlk, Gothic miluks; akin to Latin mulgēre, Greek amélgein to milk
Related formsmilk·less, adjectiveo·ver·milk, verbun·milked, adjectivewell-milked, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for milk

Contemporary Examples of milk

Historical Examples of milk

British Dictionary definitions for milk



  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
any similar fluid in plants, such as the juice of a coconut
any of various milklike pharmaceutical preparations, such as milk of magnesia
cry over spilt milk to lament something that cannot be altered


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

Word Origin for milk

Old English milc; compare Old Saxon miluk, Old High German miluh, Old Norse mjolk
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for milk

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).


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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

milk in Medicine




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.
The milk of cows, goats, or other animals, used as food by humans.
A liquid, such as coconut milk, milkweed sap, plant latex, or various medical emulsions, that is similar to milk in appearance.


To draw milk from the teat or udder of a female mammal.
To press out, drain off, or remove by or as if by milking; strip.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

milk in Science



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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with milk


In addition to the idiom beginning with milk

  • milk of human kindness, the

also see:

  • cry over spilt milk
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.