Word of the Day: milk

Word of the Day
August 4, 2016
milk (noun, verb)
/mɪlk/  sound icon
Milking a cow
We think you probably know that milk is a white liquid that all mammals produce to feed their babies, and also the liquid produced by cows or other animals that we humans use as food or to make dairy products. It is also an edible liquid that looks like milk, like those made of coconut or soybeans. As a verb, to milk means 'to extract milk from udders' (the part of the cow shown in the picture above), and also 'to extract something as if by milking.' To milk also means 'to exploit a situation' or 'to obtain something from someone,' especially in gradual amounts, or 'to extract.'


Example sentences
Milk contains lots of calcium.
Coconut milk is often used in curries.
The farmer milks her cows twice a day.
Snakes are sometimes milked of their venom.
When Oliver first got sick, people were really sympathetic, but then he started milking it and everyone lost interest.
Over the course of a year, Kate milked her grandfather for all his savings.
The journalist milked the politician's secretary for information.


Multi-word forms
there's no point (or: it's no use) crying over spilled (or spilt) milk: once something is done, it can't be undone, so you might as well make the best of the situation instead of complaining. Example: "You got fired? Well, there's no point crying over spilled milk. You'd better go out and find a new job."
milk it for all it's worth: get every possible advantage out of something. Example: "When my brother gets sick, he milks it for all it's worth and tries to make me do everything for him!"
milk of human kindness: kindness and compassion towards your fellow humans. Example: "Robert was a grumpy old man and the milk of human kindness had dried up in his soul long ago."
milk and honey: plenty, comfort, abundance (a reference to the Biblical description of the promised land). Example: "Unfortunately, life can't all be milk and honey. Everyone has to face some hardships."
Did you know?
The first set of teeth that children grow, which later fall out to give way to their adult teeth, are called milk teeth or baby teeth.
Other forms
milky (adjective)
Milk dates back to before the year 900. Its first appearance on the British Isles was in Anglian, an old language that was spoken before English (and from which many English words come), as milc. That became meol(o)c in Old English and later milk in Middle English. It is related to the German Milch, the Old Norse mjōlk, and the Gothic miluks, and similar to the Latin verb mulgēre, and the ancient Greek verb amélgein, both of which mean 'to milk.'
Milk in other languages
Milk was suggested by Émilie, from France
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