Milk It Dry!

Type: Idioms and Phrases
Originally published on February 13, 2023 and last updated on August 1, 2023

The idiom “milk it” can be used in various contexts, including business, politics, entertainment and personal relationships.

When someone is accused of “milking it,” it suggests that they are exploiting a situation or circumstance for their own gain, often without regard for the impact on others.

Go through the definition and examples below with your students to check their understanding. For each of the situations that follow students should state whether they think the person or organization is milking the situation.

Definition and Examples

The idiom “milk it” means to extract as much benefit or advantage as possible from a situation or resource. It is often used in a negative sense to suggest that someone is taking advantage of a situation, perhaps in an opportunistic or greedy way. For example: “He’s been milking his celebrity status for all it’s worth, appearing in countless advertisements.”

The phrase can also be used more generally to refer to any action that is taken to extract maximum benefit from a particular resource or situation, such as “She’s been milking her connections to get ahead in her career.”

The addition of “dry” to the idiom “milk it” conveys a sense of exhaustiveness or completeness. When someone is said to “milk it dry,” it means that they are taking advantage of a situation to the absolute fullest extent, until there is nothing left to gain.

Overall, the idiom “milk it” implies that someone is taking advantage of a situation to the fullest extent possible, often to the point of exploiting it.



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  • A coworker is always taking long breaks and leaving early, but still getting paid for a full day's work.
  • A friend constantly borrows money from you but never pays you back.
  • A neighbour is always asking to borrow tools and equipment, but never returns them in the same condition they received them.
  • A company charges exorbitant prices for its products and services, taking advantage of customers' needs.
  • A politician uses public funds for personal gain, such as paying for luxury vacations and expensive gifts.
  • A celebrity endorses multiple products and services, taking advantage of their fame and influence.
  • A school imposes high tuition fees and other charges, taking advantage of students' need for education.
  • An individual seeks medical treatments without paying their fair share, exploiting the public health system.
This conversation topic was prepared by Gregory

Gregory is a qualified TEFL teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (ESL) for over a decade. He has taught in-person classes in Spain and to English learners around the world online.