from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.
  • noun The milk of cows, goats, or other animals, used as food by humans.
  • noun Any of various potable liquids resembling milk, such as coconut milk or soymilk.
  • noun A liquid resembling milk in consistency, such as milkweed sap or milk of magnesia.
  • intransitive verb To draw milk from the teat or udder of (a female mammal).
  • intransitive verb To draw or extract a liquid from.
  • intransitive verb To press out, drain off, or remove (a liquid).
  • intransitive verb To draw out or extract something from.
  • intransitive verb To obtain money or benefits from, in order to achieve personal gain; exploit.
  • intransitive verb To obtain the greatest possible advantage from (a situation).
  • intransitive verb To get the greatest effect from (a line or scene in a play, for example).
  • intransitive verb To yield or supply milk.
  • intransitive verb To draw milk from a female mammal.
  • idiom (milk it) To take advantage of the help or kindness of others, as when one acts as if one still needs help after recovering from an illness.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An emulsion; any liquid which holds small particles of solid matter in suspension.
  • To press or draw milk from the breasts or udders of: as, to milk a cow.
  • To suck.
  • Figuratively, to drain the contents or the strength from: exhaust gradually: as, to milk a friend's purse; the soil has been milked of its fertility.
  • In racing slang, to bet against, as an owner against his horse when the horse is to be withdrawn, or cannot win, or is not to be allowed to win.
  • In telegraphy, to draw part of the current from (a wire) through an instrument without cutting the wire; read a message by placing an induction apparatus close to (the wire).
  • To supply with milk; feed with milk.
  • noun A white or bluish-white liquid secreted by the mammary glands of the females of the class Mammalia, and drawn from their breasts for the nourishment of their young.
  • noun Anything resembling milk in appearance, taste, etc., as the juice of the cocoanut and the sap of certain plants (see latex).
  • noun The spat before it is discharged from an oyster.
  • noun A slight cloudy opacity occurring in some diamonds.
  • noun Milk which has undergone a special fermentation caused by a microbe, Bacterium cyanoyenum, which causes it to assume a blue color.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To draw or press milk from the breasts or udder of, by the hand or mouth; to withdraw the milk of.
  • transitive verb To draw from the breasts or udder; to extract, as milk.
  • transitive verb To draw anything from, as if by milking; to compel to yield profit or advantage; to plunder.
  • transitive verb [Cant] to squeeze the smaller operators in stocks and extract a profit from them, by alternately raising and depressing prices within a short range; -- said of the large dealers.
  • transitive verb [Cant] to use for one's own advantage the contents of a telegram belonging to another person.
  • intransitive verb To draw or to yield milk.
  • intransitive verb (Elec.) To give off small gas bubbles during the final part of the charging operation; -- said of a storage battery.
  • noun (Physiol.) A white fluid secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals for the nourishment of their young, consisting of minute globules of fat suspended in a solution of casein, albumin, milk sugar, and inorganic salts.
  • noun (Bot.) A kind of juice or sap, usually white in color, found in certain plants; latex. See Latex.
  • noun An emulsion made by bruising seeds.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The ripe, undischarged spat of an oyster.
  • noun See under Condense, v. t.
  • noun (Med.) vesicular eczema occurring on the face and scalp of nursing infants. See Eczema.
  • noun (Med.), (Vet. Surg.) A form puerperal peritonitis in cattle; also, a variety of meningitis occurring in cows after calving.
  • noun glass having a milky appearance.
  • noun (Med.) a hard lump forming in the breast of a nursing woman, due to obstruction to the flow of milk and congestion of the mammary glands.
  • noun (Med.) a swollen condition of the leg, usually in puerperal women, caused by an inflammation of veins, and characterized by a white appearance occasioned by an accumulation of serum and sometimes of pus in the cellular tissue.
  • noun [Obs.] food made from milk, as butter and cheese.
  • noun Same as Escutcheon, 2.
  • noun (Anat.) one of the deciduous molar teeth which are shed and replaced by the premolars.
  • noun (Chem.) a watery emulsion of calcium hydrate, produced by macerating quicklime in water.
  • noun (Bot.) an umbelliferous plant (Peucedanum palustre) of Europe and Asia, having a milky juice.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English milc; see melg- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word milk.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I loved milk so much when I was a kid that I asked for a cow for my birthday one year. (We did not live on a farm.)

    November 9, 2007

  • You were a smartie. I would probably have just asked for lots of bottles of milk.

    November 9, 2007

  • Nah, that didn't work. There were too many of us kids and the milkman couldn't keep up. :-)

    November 10, 2007

  • where is image

    April 1, 2010