English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English mylky, melky, equivalent to milk +‎ -y. Cognate with German milchig (milky), Swedish mjölkig (milky). Doublet of milchig.

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

milky (comparative milkier, superlative milkiest)

  1. Resembling milk in color, consistency, smell, etc.; consisting of milk.
  2. (color science, informal) Of the black in an image, appearing as dark gray rather than black.
  3. (of a drink) Containing (an especially large amount of) milk.
    milky tea; milky cocoa
    • 1959, Muriel Spark, chapter 1, in Memento Mori[3], New York: New Directions, published 2000, page 13:
      Mrs. Anthony, their daily housekeeper, brought in the milky coffee and placed it on the breakfast table.
    • 1963 [1962], Anthony Burgess, chapter 5, in A Clockwork Orange, New York: W. W. Norton, →ISBN, page 156:
      [] we sat down [] to the old crack crack crack of eggs and the crackle crunch crunch of this black toast, very milky chai standing by in bolshy great morning mugs.
  4. (of grains) Containing a whitish liquid, juicy.
    • 1800, Robert Bloomfield, The Farmer’s Boy, London: Vernor & Hood et al., “Summer,” p. 30,[4]
      Shot up from broad rank blades that droop below,
      The nodding WHEAT-EAR forms a graceful bow,
      With milky kernels starting full, weigh’d down,
      Ere yet the sun hath ting’d its head with brown;
    • 1914, Robert W. Chambers, chapter 19, in The Hidden Children[5], New York: Appleton, page 575:
      [] the servile Eries were staggering out of the corn fields laden with ripe ears; and the famished soldiers were shouting and cursing at them and tearing the corn from their arms to gnaw the raw and milky grains.
    • 1981, Martin Morolong, “The Old-Style Calendar” in Bessie Head, Serowe: Village of the Rain Wind, London: Heinemann,
      The birds perch on the sorghum heads and try to eat them but the dry seed falls to the ground. The birds can only peck it out of the sorghum head when it is still milky and green.
  5. (colloquial) Cowardly.
    • c. 1605–1608, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Tymon of Athens”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene i]:
      Has friendship such a faint and milky heart?
    • 1938, Graham Greene, Brighton Rock[6], Vintage, published 2002, Part , Chapter , pp. 45-46:
      ‘Who said there was going to be any killing?’ The lightning flared up and showed his tight shabby jacket, the bunch of soft hair at the nape. ‘I’ve got a date, that’s all. You be careful what you say, Spicer. You aren’t milky, are you?’
      ‘I’m not milky. You got me wrong, Pinkie. I just don’t want another killing []
    • 1977 April 23, Ken Withers, “No Boycott”, in Gay Community News, page 5:
      The boycott of Florida orange juice, while coming from genuine feelings, is basically a milky-liberal response to an issue that needs united, vocal, public action.
  6. (colloquial) Immature, childish.
    • 1651, William Davenant, Gondibert[7], London: John Holden, Book 2, Canto 3, Stanza 48, p. 101:
      Gone is your fighting Youth, whom you have bred
      From milkie Childhood to the years of bloud!
    • 1851, Charles Kingsley, chapter 1, in Yeast[8], London: John W. Parker, page 15:
      There were the everlasting hills around, even as they had grown for countless ages, beneath the still depths of the primeval chalk ocean, in the milky youth of this great English land.
    • 1882, Walter Besant, chapter 2, in The Revolt of Man[9], London: Blackwood, page 45:
      “I am no milky, modest, obedient youth, Constance. []
    • 1922, Sinclair Lewis, chapter 29, in Babbitt, New York, N.Y.: Harcourt, Brace and Company, →OCLC, section III, page 337:
      He got so thoroughly into the jocund spirit that he didn’t much mind seeing Tanis drooping against the shoulder of the youngest and milkiest of the young men []
  7. (obsolete) Producing milk, lactating.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, “Book I, Canto VIII”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC:
      As great a noyse, as when in Cymbrian plaine
      An heard of Bulles, whom kindly rage doth sting,
      Doe for the milky mothers want complaine,
      And fill the fieldes with troublous bellowing,
    • 1648, Robert Herrick, “A Country Life”, in Hesperides[10], London: John Williams and Francis Eglesfield, page 37:
      [] ye heare the Lamb by many a bleat
      Woo’d to come suck the milkie Teat:

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