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‘Don’t cry over spilled milk,’ explained

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This expression is old, going back at least 360 years

(WYTV) – Thursday, February 11 was No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk Day — and how did that expression come about?

This expression is old, going back at least 360 years.

English historian and writer James Howell used the phrase in a book called “Proverbs in 1659” — “No weeping for shed milk.”

Then it morphed a bit over the years to “No use fretting over shed milk,” then “There’s no use crying over spilt milk.”

However you say it, it always means there’s no point in being upset over something that has already happened and cannot be changed.

Why milk? Why not, say, Jack Daniels? That might be worth crying over.

While we don’t know the exact origin, it may have come from supernatural lore. In the days when people believed strongly in fairies, it was common to lay out a shrine for them consisting of small quantities of food and drink, particularly of their favorite — milk.

Whenever milk was spilled, it was considered to be nothing more than a little extra offering to the fairies and nothing to worry about.

So is it spilled or spilt? Spilled is the past tense of spill in American English, but spilt is the British version.

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