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.
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. T
hese 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.
Examples in a Sentence
“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)