Cry over spilled milk and cry over spilt milk

The phrases cry over spilled milk and cry over spilt milk are idioms. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, chin up, on the ball, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idioms cry over spilled milk and cry over spilt milk, from where these expressions are derived, and some examples of their use in sentences.

To cry over spilled milk and to cry over spilt milk mean to lament a disaster or a loss that can not be undone, to pointlessly mourn something that can not be mitigated. The idea is that once milk from a bucket or glass is spilled, it can not be saved. The expressions are usually rendered in the negative, as in don’t cry over spilled milk and don’t cry over spilt milk. These idioms are derived from and earlier idiom that was popular in the 1600s: no weeping for shed milk. In this case, the word shed means to drop liquid or accidentally allow it to be poured out. Related phrases are cries over spilled milk and cries over spilt milk, cried over spilled milk and cried over spilt milk, crying over spilled milk and crying over spilt milk.


“That’s just [the] nature of the beast, you can’t cry over spilled milk.” (BET)

While U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s favorite beverage is milk, the Salem Democrat was “not crying over spilled milk” that he did not make the debate stage in Miami for the first round of 2020 Democratic presidential debates on June 26 and June 27. (The Daily News)

“Well, I’m going over spilt milk, but it’s just unfortunate that the Trials have been so early,” he rued, “because if the Trials were at the end of July, it would have been perfect because then you’d have been able to get in some more races before, and so on.” (The Jamaica Gleaner)

Although his previous at-bat had a painful outcome — hard fly out to the center field fence with the bases loaded and two outs to end the fourth inning — Kaleb Witham wasn’t in the mood to cry over spilt milk. (Fosters Daily Democrat)

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