The phrase "milk him dry" is often used to talk about taking all of someone's resources or exploiting someone to the fullest extent. While the phrase can mean draining a cow of its milk, it usually refers to situations where one person takes advantage of another, usually in terms of money or effort. You can use it in work environments, personal relationships, or even social scenarios.
When someone says, "milk him dry," they mean that one person is taking everything they can from another person. The aim is to take as much as possible, whether money, time, or even emotional support. For instance, you might hear, "She milked him dry in that divorce settlement," in a conversation about how one partner took a lot from the other financially.
Let's look at what the phrase generally means:
The phrase “milk him dry” is a variant of the idiom “milk something dry,” which means to drain something completely or to exhaust all the possibilities of something. The verb “to milk,” meaning to obtain milk from a cow, was transferred in the early sixteenth century to mean getting money from someone. It has since expanded to include obtaining maximum audience laughter or applause and similar unrelated endeavors.
"They simply think an American is a traveling gold mine and they are going to milk him dry."
- See America First Magazine, Volumes 6-8, 1915
Let's look at some examples to understand how and when to use the phrase "milk him dry":
This phrase doesn't often show up in a positive light in pop culture, mainly highlighting exploitative relationships or situations.
Here are some examples:
If you want to use other words to say the same thing, here are some options:
The phrase "milk him dry" means to exploit or use someone to the point where they have nothing left to give, either materially or emotionally.
You can use it to describe a situation where someone is being taken advantage of to a severe degree. For example: "She milked him dry with all those unpaid loans," or "The company milked him dry by making him work endless hours.
The phrase is generally used to highlight exploitative situations and isn't confined to any particular setting. It can be heard in both casual conversations and formal discussions, like legal cases or business scenarios.
Yes, the phrase can be applied to non-human subjects. For instance, "The mining operation milked the land dry," means that all resources were extracted, leaving nothing useful.
Yes, "milk him dry" can be used in written form, like articles or books, where it serves to illustrate a point about exploitation or depletion.
While the phrase borrows from the literal act of milking an animal until there's no milk left, it's generally used metaphorically to describe draining someone or something of all resources.
Mostly, yes. The phrase usually describes a situation where someone or something is being exploited or taken advantage of.
Both phrases share a similar meaning of exploitation or depletion, but "bleed him dry" might carry a more severe or intense connotation, often implying a complete and irreversible draining of resources.
Though generally serious, the phrase can be used jokingly or sarcastically depending on the tone and context. For example, "You'll milk me dry with all these coffee runs.
Yes, the phrase can refer to emotional or intellectual exploitation as well. For example, "He milked her dry for her creative ideas but never gave her credit."
The idiom "milk him dry" is a powerful way to describe situations where someone or something is being exploited to the point of depletion. It's versatile and can be applied to both people and resources.
Here's a quick recap: