Posted by ESC on January 14, 2004
In Reply to: Crying over spilled milk posted by Kim on January 14, 2004
: I'm interested in finding the history behind this quotation.
CRYING OVER SPILLED MILK - "To lament uselessly or pointlessly. As early as 1659 James Howell was listing 'no weeping for shed milk' as a British proverb. The basis of it is that spilled milk cannot be gathered up and put back in the container." From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).
From living on a farm I am familiar with the concept. Cows often get cranky and kick over the milk bucket. Then there's the possibility of tripping and spilling the milk on the way to the house. I don't know if this is grammatical, but I've heard the phrase as "spilt milk."