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. Any of various potable liquids resembling milk, such as coconut milk or soymilk.
4. A liquid resembling milk in consistency, such as milkweed sap or milk of magnesia.
v. milked, milk·ing, milks
a. To draw milk from the teat or udder of (a female mammal).
b. To draw or extract a liquid from: milked the stem for its last drops of sap.
2. To press out, drain off, or remove (a liquid): milk venom from a snake.
a. To draw out or extract something from: milked the witness for information.
b. To obtain money or benefits from, in order to achieve personal gain; exploit: "The dictator and his cronies had milked their country of somewhere between $5 billion and $10 billion" (Russell Watson).
c. To obtain the greatest possible advantage from (a situation).
d. To get the greatest effect from (a line or scene in a play, for example).
1. To yield or supply milk.
2. To draw milk from a female mammal.
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.
[Middle English, from Old English milc; see melg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.