Idiom: Cry over spilled milk

Definition, sentence example and image of a cat crying because a carton of milk has spilled on the floor to depict the idiom don't cry over spilled milk.

Cry over spilled milk (idiom)

Why would you tell the poor kitty in the picture not to 'cry over spilled milk?' Well, the carton of milk has tipped over and the milk has spilled out. Waaaa! Waaa! Yes, it's very sad but does it help? Herein lies the meaning of this idiom:   

Cry over spilled milk:   to be upset, worried or unhappy about something that cannot be changed.

Sometimes the best you can do is to stop crying and feeling sad and do the best you can with a situation (e.g., drink the milk off the floor - just kidding).


This idiom is usually used in a negative form with "don't" or "there's no use."  

This is because we are referring to something that has already happened and cannot be changed. The phrase "there's no use"  means that trying to do something won't help in this situation (so don't bother to try and change it).

Sentence examples

— I'm sorry you lost your mobile phone but there's no use crying over spilled milkyou'll have to buy a new one.      

— If you're finished crying over spilled milk we'll go buy you a new balloon.     

— Ugh, there goes the bus! Well, let's start walking—there's no use crying over spilled milk.

— I know it's useless to cry over spilled milk but I dropped to the floor and cried for at least five minutes anyway after my stylist gave me a terrible hair cut.      

— Sit down and stop dancing around with your ice cream cone. I don't want to listen to you cry over spilled milk when you drop it.

— My sister always used to cry over spilled milk but after she was diagnosed with cancer she's realized it's silly to focus on life's little problems that can't be changed.

— I know you're upset the airline lost our luggage but let's enjoy this holiday anyway. What's the use of crying over spilled milk?

— I cannot believe I forgot to pack my cocktail dress for the gala dinner. Well, there's no point crying over spilled milk.  I'll have to go shopping for a new one.

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