Well readers the Paralympics finished this week and a new drama has quickly replaced it at the top of the headlines. Unfortunately it is a sad story and it concerns milk powder products for babies.
At the center of the drama is the possibility that producers were adding a particular chemical that makes the milk powder look like it has more protein. Sadly as a result several babies have passed away and many more are receiving treatment.
Using this as our start point let's now venture off into all the milk related idioms and expressions that are found within the English language.
First off comes the phrase 'mother's milk' and this is usually used to refer to something that tastes really nice and has a good effect on you. For example, "Jeff loved his beer so much he thought it was just like mother's milk".
Keeping within the kindergarten we often hear the phrase, 'It's no use crying over spilt milk'. Now if you can imagine what it was like when you were a baby and someone knocked over your milk bottle – you probably cried and that is the idea with this expression. Basically it is saying 'what is done is done, accept it, get over it and don't act like a kid'.
From being told to "get with the system and grow up" we now travel into the world of politics and business where we find the expression, 'milking the system'. This has a more negative idea of someone or some organization that is using a certain situation for their selfish benefit. For example, in many western countries you can receive welfare support from the government if you are sick. However, sometimes people who don't want to work or are lazy will claim this money from the government and as such we can say, "They are milking the system". Also, sometimes a police officer will accept bribes from criminals and we can say this officer is 'milking the system'.
Another expression that has some similarity is 'milk it for all its worth' and here the idea is that you exploit something until the very end. For example, 'the miners milked that oil well for all it was worth and now it is completely dry.' Or 'that young girl milked that old man for all he was worth and now he is broke and refuses to even talk to her.'
As we get closer to the end of this milky mix lets move back to a nicer scene where we find the expression 'milk of human kindness'. This actually originates from a Shakespeare play and the meaning concerns that essential element we should all possess that is 'care and compassion for others'. For example, 'I think I like Obama more because he seems to have more of the milk of human kindness.'
And finally the place where we are all aiming towards in our work and study, the 'land of milk and honey'. This expression refers to a place that is heavenly; where everything you want you have, where life is sweet. For example, 'I had such a lovely dream last night, I was in the land of milk and honey.'
Well I hope you can learn to use these expressions or at least understand them next time you see them. And for all those affected by the recent milk powder tragedy I'm certain all of those out there are doing there best to fix this mess.