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Idiom

It’s no Use Crying Over Spilt Milk: Origin and Meaning

Meaning
You should not get upset or feel sorry about something that has happened which you cannot change or fix. You should keep moving forward instead of looking back at something bad which happened.
Origin
It’s no use crying over spilt milk“Spilt” is the past participle of the verb “to spill”, which means to accidentally drop a liquid, so “spilt milk” (or “spilled milk”, which is more common in American English) is milk that you have dropped and now cannot get back. There is no use crying over it because it won’t change the situation; the problem is a small one, and it is therefore better to move forward positively than to waste time worrying about it.

In 1659 the original idiom was published in a list of proverbs by James Howell as “no weeping for shed milk”. “Weeping” is the old-fashioned term for heavy crying, whilst “to shed” is a synonym of “to drop”. By 1738 in Jonathan Swift’s Polite Conversation this had evolved to the phrase “Tis a folly to cry for spilt milk” (a folly is something foolish). Today, we use the phrase to mean that there is no point looking back worrying about a mistake or some small bad situation from the past – it is better to “keep calm and carry on!”
Examples
Ella: “I feel so foolish – I’ve been paying gym membership for the last year and I have never even been there for a workout. What a waste of money!”
Hayley: “Well, there’s no use crying over spilt milk. You either need to cancel your membership or start taking some gym classes!”

Steve: “Sometimes I regret not finishing my degree. But there’s no point crying over spilt milk
Rashid: “Well, personally I think it’s never too late – you could always return to university if you really wanted to.”

Dad: “My kids were upset because we managed to burn the cupcakes by baking them a little too long in the oven. But I told them there’s no use crying over spilt milk and we just made some more.”