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spilled milk

English translation: Meaning #1

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:spilled milk
English translation:Meaning #1
Entered by: Anton Baer
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20:51 Feb 3, 2009
English to English translations [PRO]
General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters
English term or phrase: spilled milk
From well-known saying "it's no use crying over spilled milk"

I would like to know what exactly is implied by "spilled" here.

In Russian language there are two possible interpretations:

1. ~ Milk that was poured out by chance, say from a bottle, pan.

2. ~ Milk that "ran away" when it was boiled and the fire was not turned off in time and the milk overflew the pan

Thank you in advance!
Alexander Onishko
Local time: 22:06
Meaning #1
Explanation:
The Russian meaning # 1 is correct. Milk that boils out of the pan is not 'spilled'. It's not "overboiled" either. It's milk that "boils over".
However, you can't make an adjective from "overboiled" without suggesting the milk was boiled too long.

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Note added at 1 hr (2009-02-03 22:01:46 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

You are right in that 'spill' can apply to both. But think of the origin of the idiom. I think that origin would more likely be in the clumsiness of a long-ago English milkmaid kicking over a milk urn, losing all of it, and fearing the anger of her father, Henry the Eighth, or her husband, Bluebeard. When milk boils over on the stove, relatively little is lost; neither the entire morning's milking nor the output of just one cow. The kitchen maid can also quickly clean up the stovetop spill from the overboiled milk, thus covering up her wicked deed. Why would she cry, the cunning wench? Getting the straw and dung out of the theoretically recovered milk would be far harder if not impossible. Thus the spate of regrets. It's the elder women who knows the ways of the world who thus advises her not to waste her tears on her fears of a good and proper beating, but to concentrate in future on her tasks.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2009-02-03 22:02:34 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

elder woman
Selected response from:

Anton Baer
Slovakia
Local time: 21:06
Grading comment
many thanks to all!

Still, this answer was most helpful for me beacuse of the most vivid examples :)

Thank you, Heinrich!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +8lost milk
Egil Presttun
5 +4what's done is donexxxPRen
4 +5Meaning #1
Anton Baer
4trivial accidental eventsxxxArabellaCE


Discussion entries: 4





  

Answers


3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +8
lost milk


Explanation:
The point is just that the milk is lost.


Egil Presttun
Norway
Local time: 21:06
Works in field
Native speaker of: Norwegian
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Marcelo González: you beat me to it :-)
2 mins
  -> Thanks!

agree  Sheila Wilson: covers both of the asker's interpretations
6 mins
  -> Thanks! "It's no use to remain upset about a past loss" could be a way to put it. The loss may have just happened, but it's anyway too late to prevent the loss.

agree  Armorel Young: yes, the milk could be lost in any way at all - although literally "spilled" applies more to asker's (1) (e.g.knocking your cup over) than (2) because one would describe (2) as boiling over rather than spilling
14 mins
  -> Thanks!

agree  Cilian O'Tuama: the damage is done and is irreversible - you're not going to be able to get the milk back into the container, and crying's certainly not going to help
21 mins
  -> Thanks!

agree  Alison Jenner: yes, and I think Cilian's "the damage is done" sums it up perfectly!
51 mins
  -> Thanks!

agree  NancyLynn
1 hr
  -> Thanks!

agree  Suzan Hamer: Similar to "water under the bridge . . ." what's done is done, what's past is past and as Cilian said, irreversible.
1 hr
  -> Thanks!

agree  Tony M: 'to spill over' = 'to overflow', is not the same as 'to be spilt' = 'to be dropped accidentally'
1 hr
  -> Thanks!

neutral  B D Finch: I think the point is that there is more where that came from and milk doesn't keep long anyhow. Whether it was spilled while milking or from a cup is irrelevant.
1 hr
  -> Thanks!
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12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
trivial accidental events


Explanation:
it's generally a metaphor for any kind of accidental event (mostly trivial) that cannot be mended or changed or brought back in any way- what's gone is gone and what is past is past - so there's no point crying!




xxxArabellaCE
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:06
Native speaker of: English
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +4
what's done is done


Explanation:
It's happened, move on! There's no use crying over something that's already happened and you can't change.

xxxPRen
Canada
Local time: 16:06
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  B D Finch: Exactly. The weird and wonderful explanations of how the milk got spilled and whether it boiled over miss the point entirely - the cows will provide fresh milk and one needs to get on with life.
18 mins
  -> Thanks

agree  Diana Arbiser
21 mins
  -> Thanks

agree  fourth: Yes. This is explanatory. It has content!
36 mins
  -> Thanks

agree  Christine Andersen: This is the actual meaning of the phrase. Most languages probably have a similar proverb that means the same.
9 hrs
  -> Thanks
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25 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +5
Meaning #1


Explanation:
The Russian meaning # 1 is correct. Milk that boils out of the pan is not 'spilled'. It's not "overboiled" either. It's milk that "boils over".
However, you can't make an adjective from "overboiled" without suggesting the milk was boiled too long.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2009-02-03 22:01:46 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

You are right in that 'spill' can apply to both. But think of the origin of the idiom. I think that origin would more likely be in the clumsiness of a long-ago English milkmaid kicking over a milk urn, losing all of it, and fearing the anger of her father, Henry the Eighth, or her husband, Bluebeard. When milk boils over on the stove, relatively little is lost; neither the entire morning's milking nor the output of just one cow. The kitchen maid can also quickly clean up the stovetop spill from the overboiled milk, thus covering up her wicked deed. Why would she cry, the cunning wench? Getting the straw and dung out of the theoretically recovered milk would be far harder if not impossible. Thus the spate of regrets. It's the elder women who knows the ways of the world who thus advises her not to waste her tears on her fears of a good and proper beating, but to concentrate in future on her tasks.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2009-02-03 22:02:34 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

elder woman

Anton Baer
Slovakia
Local time: 21:06
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12
Grading comment
many thanks to all!

Still, this answer was most helpful for me beacuse of the most vivid examples :)

Thank you, Heinrich!
Notes to answerer
Asker: "When milk climbs toward its boiling point of roughly 100 degrees celsius, the cream rises to the top and the water beneath creates steam, causing the milk to rise and spill over as soon as you turn your back." http://www.cookthink.com/blog/?p=1403


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nesrin: Just posted an answer saying the same thing, will hide it now. I think Alexander needs to know which Russian word to go for in a translation, not to understand the proverb.
5 mins

agree  Sabina Metcalf
7 mins

agree  NancyLynn
47 mins

agree  Polangmar: Yes, it's the only relevant answer.
1 hr

agree  Darya Kozak
1 day16 hrs
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Voters for reclassification
as
PRO / non-PRO
PRO (2): Polangmar, NancyLynn
Non-PRO (1): Marcelo González


Return to KudoZ list


Changes made by editors
Feb 4, 2009 - Changes made by NancyLynn:
LevelNon-PRO » PRO
Feb 3, 2009 - Changes made by Anton Baer:
Created KOG entryKudoZ term » KOG term
Feb 3, 2009 - Changes made by Tony M:
LevelPRO » Non-PRO


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