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A glass of cow's milk.


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English milk, mylk, melk, mulc, from Old English meolc, meoluc ‎(milk), from Proto-Germanic *meluks, from Proto-Indo-European *h₂melǵ-.


milk ‎(countable and uncountable, plural milks)

  1. (uncountable) A white liquid produced by the mammary glands of female mammals to nourish their young. From certain animals, especially cows, it is a common food for humans as a beverage or used to produce various dairy products such as butter, cheese, and yogurt.
    • 2007 September 24, Chris Horseman (interviewee), Emily Harris (reporter), “Global Dairy Demand Drives Up Prices”, Morning Edition, National Public Radio
      [] there's going to be that much less milk available to cover any other uses. Which means whether it's liquid milk or whether it's [milk that's been turned into] cheese or yogurt, the price gets pulled up right across the board.
  2. (countable, informal) An individual serving of milk.
    Table three ordered three milks. (Formally: The guests at table three ordered three glasses of milk.)
  3. (uncountable) A white (or whitish) liquid obtained from a vegetable source such as soy beans, coconuts, almonds, rice, oats. Also called non-dairy milk.
    • circa 1430 (reprinted 1888), Thomas Austin (editor), Two Fifteenth-century Cookery-books. Harleian ms. 279 (ab. 1430), & Harl. ms. 4016 (ab. 1450), with Extracts from Ashmole ms. 1429, Laud ms. 553, & Douce ms. 55, London: N. Trübner & Co. for the Early English Text Society, volume I (Original Series; 91), OCLC 374760, page 11:
      Soupes dorye. — Take gode almaunde mylke [] caste þher-to Safroun an Salt []
    • 1962 (quoting a 1381 text), Hans Kurath and Sherman M. Kuhn (editors), Middle English Dictionary, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, ISBN 978-0-472-01044-8, page 1242:
      dorrẹ̅, dōrī adj. & n. [] cook. glazed with a yellow substance; pome(s ~, sopes ~. [] 1381 Pegge Cook. Recipes p. 114: For to make Soupys dorry. Nym onyons [] Nym wyn [] toste wyte bred and do yt in dischis, and god Almande mylk.
  4. The ripe, undischarged spat of an oyster.
  5. (uncountable, slang) Semen.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



Etymology 2[edit]

From Old English melcan, from Proto-Germanic *melkaną, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₂melǵ-, the same root as the noun. Compare Dutch and German melken, Danish malke, Norwegian mjølke, also Latin mulgeō ‎(I milk), Ancient Greek ἀμέλγω ‎(amélgō, I milk), Albanian mjel ‎(to milk), Russian молоко́ ‎(molokó), Lithuanian mélžti, Tocharian A mālk-.


milk ‎(third-person singular simple present milks, present participle milking, simple past and past participle milked)

  1. (transitive) To express milk from (a mammal, especially a cow).
    The farmer milked his cows.
    • Shakespeare
      I have given suck, and know / How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me.
  2. (transitive) To draw (milk) from the breasts or udder.
    to milk wholesome milk from healthy cows
  3. (transitive) To express any liquid (from any creature).
  4. (transitive, figuratively) To make excessive use of (a particular point in speech or writing, etc.); to take advantage of (a situation).
    When the audience began laughing, the comedian milked the joke for more laughs.
    • London Spectator
      They [the lawyers] milk an unfortunate estate as regularly as a dairyman does his stock.
  5. (of an electrical storage battery) To give off small gas bubbles during the final part of the charging operation.



  1. ^ "Milk" versus "melk": Have you noticed that the way we talk is changing? Linguists have, CBC News, 5 August 2015 (2:44 PM PT)

See also[edit]




  1. Third-person singular present of melken.