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[milk] /mɪlk/
an opaque white or bluish-white liquid secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals, serving for the nourishment of their young.
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.
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)
to press or draw milk from the udder or breast of.
to extract something from as if by milking.
to get something from; exploit:
The swindler milked her of all her savings.
to extract; draw out:
He's good at milking laughs from the audience.
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 forms
milkless, adjective
overmilk, verb
unmilked, adjective
well-milked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for milk
  • The farm makes some of the country's finest sheep's-milk yogurt and cheeses, all produced in small, handcrafted batches.
  • Soak bread in half the milk, squeeze out the excess liquid, and mash with a fork.
  • If there is more milk being produced than people are wanting to drink, then the level of production needs to come down.
  • The bacteria naturally exist in our environment and have been found in powdered formula and milk.
  • The use of milk, cream, or condensed milk also varies from recipe to recipe.
  • Not all flavor need be wiped out when milk or cream is pasteurized.
  • For instance, cows can both provide milk and be eaten.
  • Rare-breed advocates say the best way to preserve vulnerable cattle is to keep them in the food chain, producing milk or meat.
  • Macaroni dripping with cheese sauce stays light thanks to reduced-fat cheeses and creamy evaporated milk.
  • Raw milk drinkers may praise its flavor or claim it is more nutritious than pasteurized 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, etc related 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)
(intransitive) (of cows, goats, or other animals) to yield milk
(transitive) to draw off or tap in small quantities: to milk the petty cash
(transitive) to extract as much money, help, etc, as possible from: to milk a situation of its news value
(transitive) to extract venom, sap, etc, from
Word Origin
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
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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
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milk in Medicine

milk (mĭlk)

  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.

v. milked, milk·ing, milks
  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.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for milk


  1. To exploit something to the utmost: The ones that contained real meat were milked capably by the cast (1921+ Show business)
  2. To get something, esp money, unfairly or fraudulently: The agents had regularly been milking the tenants for exorbitant rents (1532+)
  3. To masturbate (1970s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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milk in the Bible

(1.) Hebrew halabh, "new milk", milk in its fresh state (Judg. 4:19). It is frequently mentioned in connection with honey (Ex. 3:8; 13:5; Josh. 5:6; Isa. 7:15, 22; Jer. 11:5). Sheep (Deut. 32:14) and goats (Prov. 27:27) and camels (Gen. 32:15), as well as cows, are made to give their milk for the use of man. Milk is used figuratively as a sign of abundance (Gen. 49:12; Ezek. 25:4; Joel 3:18). It is also a symbol of the rudiments of doctrine (1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12, 13), and of the unadulterated word of God (1 Pet. 2:2). (2.) Heb. hem'ah, always rendered "butter" in the Authorized Version. It means "butter," but also more frequently "cream," or perhaps, as some think, "curdled milk," such as that which Abraham set before the angels (Gen. 18:8), and which Jael gave to Sisera (Judg. 5:25). In this state milk was used by travellers (2 Sam. 17:29). If kept long enough, it acquired a slightly intoxicating or soporific power. This Hebrew word is also sometimes used for milk in general (Deut. 32:14; Job 20:17).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with milk


In addition to the idiom beginning with milk also see: cry over spilt milk
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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