Can you translate the Italian idiom “piangere sul latte versato“?

Piangere sul latte versato” is one of those rare idiomatic expressions that we can translate into English word by word.

That’s not common at all!

Normally it is incredibly difficult to guess what idioms really mean as the literal meaning is far from the figurative one.

But this idiom perfectly corresponds to the English “cry over spilt milk”.

So we normally use it when someone complains or is very upset about something that happened and can’t be changed or about something he regrets.

When we say “non piangere sul latte versato“, the meaning is that crying doesn’t fix things, so it is useless.

The origin of this idiom is very ancient: it dates back to a time when milk was not produced industrially, so it was very expensive and not many people could afford it.

At that time, spilling milk was considered a waste to avoid so if it happened it could cause remorse.

How can we use this idiom in a sentence?

Italian English
So che avete fatto un investimento sbagliato e avete perso molti soldi, ma ora non ha senso piangere sul latte versato. I know you did a bad investment and lost a lot of money but now there is no use in crying over spilt milk.
Non piangere sul latte versato, ormai il treno è partito! Don’t cry over spilt milk, the train has departed by now!
Luca ha lasciato il lavoro, ma ora non riesce a trovarne un altro. È tardi per piangere sul latte versato! Luca quit his job but now he can’t find another one. It’s late to cry over spilt milk!


Make some other examples to practice now, it is not easy to think about situations that require this idiom!

And you can learn many more Italian idiomatic expressions following this link.

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